Friday, August 9, 2013

Nick Gazin's Comic Book Love-in #44 | VICE Canada

Nick Gazin's Comic Book Love-in #44 | VICE Canada

Kramers Ergot 8
Edited by Sammy Harkham
Man, Kramers is the best. CF, Ben Jones, all that shit. So good.

Some of it gets by on attitude more than heart but for the most part it's great. It starts off with this great cover and then some 2001-looking art inside. I'm noticing that as movies look worse and worse that I'm seeing more art that tries to replicate the glow of film or the grain of VHS or the slight blur of freeze frame.

Then there's an Ian Svenonious article on camp. Then there's a new Gary Panter comic about Jimbo. Jimbo and his friends are traveling through the desolate future, when they come to a giant hellish department store and go to a shack where wish-fulfilling party balls give them snacks as they get high and watch some sort of insane mishmash movie. This is immediately followed by a beautiful comic CF did about upper-class people and perversion and stuff. Gabrielle Bell did a comic that kind of blew my mind. Frank Santoro and Dash Shaw did a comic based on To Catch A Predator that sympathizes with the predator. There are some still-life photos. Johnny Ryan did an amazing comic about astronauts in a mining colony. It ends with monsters, demonic mutation, and severe scary horror. Johnny Ryan's comic is a lot like a comic he did for VICE a while back so I called him up and it went roughly like this.

VICE: Hi Johnny, can I ask you about your new Kramers comic?
Johnny Ryan: No, I like to let me comics speak for themselves.
Was it based on the comic about the astronaut miners you did for VICE?
Yeah, that was the germ for this comic. I did that one-page comic and thought it could be expanded upon.
Are they the same characters or am I thinking about it too literally?
Yeah. It's the same elements. There are space miners and something strange happens near a hole and one of them goes to check it out.
What are you wearing? I'm just in my underwear.
That's disgusting.
Is your wife around?
Yeah, you want me to get her?
Put her on.
[Johnny pretending to be Jenny]:Hello?
What are you wearing?
Everything I own. [Johnny reverts back to his own voice] Get away from the phone! I just pushed her out of the window. And we live on the 80th floor of the LA building.
Like in Die Hard?
What's that?
It's a great movie where Ben Affleck is a New York cop who goes to visit his wife at that building but she starts using her maiden name so at the end of the movie he drops her out of the window to teach her a lesson and joins a master terrorist.
I thought this was supposed to be about my Kramers comic.

Chris Cilla made a comic about a guy taking a tour bus as a cheap means to get somewhere and ends up boning the tour guide in an ancient temple. Other things are happening too. Anya Davidson did a comic called Barbarian Bitch that I think kinda looks like Moscoso. Ben Jones did a comic about men with dog heads for torsos. Sammy Harkham did a wordless comic about a husband and also a wife and infidelity and muuuuuuurder. The book ends with about half of the collected Oh, Wicked Wanda! comics reprinted on glossy paper. That took me by surprise pretty hard and is the kind of thing Art Spiegelman used to do in Raw when he'd reprint old Boody Rogers or Fletcher Hanks comics.
I also interviewed Sammy Harkham, the editor. He's a talented dick.
VICE: Is there any sort of overarching theme to this issue or is it just good comics?
Sammy Harkham:If a theme emerged it was probably "Fuck everyone."
The biggest curveball in Kramers Ergot 8 is probably reprinting 40 pages’ worth of the out-of-print Oh, Wicked Wanda! collection. I've wanted that book for a while. Can you explain what Wicked Wanda was/is and how it ended up in Kramers?
Oh, Wicked Wanda! was a British comic strip that was published in Penthouse in the 1970s. I found out about them a couple years ago and was really taken with it for bunch of reasons. It was surprising they had been out of print for so long. The writer is still alive and PictureBox found him and he gave us the rights to run some pages in the new Kramers for a fee. That's it. It was hard to parse it down to 40 pages for Kramers—there was easily twice as many pages that were just as great. Someone really should do a proper book of that stuff.

How'd you get involved with Ian Svenonious?
When I realized the book needed a text piece to help contextualize things, the only person I considered was Svenonius. His book The Psychic Soviet is one of my favorites. It was Svenonius or no one.
What are you working on now? Are you thinking about Kramers Ergot 9 at all?
I am working on Crickets #4. it will be out this year. I'm totally thinking about Kramers Ergot 9.
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