Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Weirdo





In the late 1980's I became a contributor to Robert Crumbs WEIRDO. My short stories appeared in four issues during Aline Kominsky-Crumbs tenure as editor. In October 2007 I was contacted by Comic Book Artist magazine because they were producing a comprehensive retrospective issue on WEIRDO.
It was to include interviews with editors Robert Crumb, Peter Bagge, and Aline Kominsky-Crumb, along with anecdotes and short essays by WEIRDO contributors. I was asked to write an essay and I agreed to do so. Unfortunately the magazine ceased to publish so the piece never ran.

So from October 2007,  here it is nine years later:

I suppose that WEIRDO may have been the preeminent comics anthology of the 1980's. And I suppose that there are those who would claim that RAW holds that distinction. This probably only comes down to matters of taste. 
That said, I can't think of a third American anthology from the same period that even mattered.
There may have been something in Europe or Japan. But I never saw it.

The main reason these two behemoths are the two that get remembered is that they were artist produced. The best anthologies always have been. RAW always seemed a little fey and contrived to me. It was beautiful to look at. But it had the nihilism of the drawing room.

WEIRDO had the air of the street. For this very reason, I am partial to WEIRDO.


WEIRDO seemed to take way more chances with the choices about who was published. This probably had something to do with the fact that there were three different editors over the course of the magazine. RAW was always Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly. Because of this there was some crazy crap that got into WEIRDO along with the jewels.
But that is what kept it interesting. It was the reason that it had far more verve than RAW.

One of the things that is so very appealing about WEIRDO, is that it was completely of its moment.
From a certain perspective, it caught the zeitgeist of the 1980's quite well. In 2007 I don't think that it matters anymore. In fact it doesn't matter at all. Neither does RAW.


WEIRDO came out of the gutter and that was where you were supposed to throw it once you were done reading it. To get too intellectual or nostalgic about it is beside the point of the thing.

It was a part of the popular culture in the 1980's. It is over now. It should be.

Over the years I have endured numerous cocktail party conversations about which era of WEIRDO editorship was the best. With various individuals claiming R. Crumb, Peter Bagge, or Aline Kominsky-Crumbs tenure as superior.

There isn't enough gin in the world to make these conversations tolerable.


To me this is just like aging record store clerks debating which era of VAN HALEN is the best.

One supposes that R. Crumb fulfills the role of Diamond Dave. With Bagge doing a marvelous impersonation of Sammy Hagar. Eventually Aline Kominsky-Crumb filled the ever so sensitive role of vocalist Gary Cherone.

There was always one constant in VAN HALEN. That was Eddie Van Halen's guitar.

There was always one constant in WEIRDO. That was R. Crumbs cover.

I hear that VAN HALEN is out on a nostalgia tour with Diamond Dave back in the saddle.

Perhaps R. Crumb could do a tour poster. Both things were huge in the 1980's.








No comments:

Post a Comment