Of Cannibals and Cartoon Studies: Monday on a Sunday Night
Looks like I'm going to be swamped with work twixt now and Wednesday morning, soooooo -- just in case, here's some meat & potatoes I intended to get to in the next two days.
* Holy smokes, we're hammering out my spring schedule with James Sturm at the Center for Cartoon Studies.
I reckon December is just around the corner, and the wrap-up of this first-ever semester is nigh, so James
is hardly jumping the gun. Though I was originally scheduled to be teaching only this first semester's "Survey of the Drawn Story" class, I reckon I've pleased the powers that be (I'm as high-performance, low-maintenance as I can be: I arrive prepared, deliver the most ass-kicking two-and-a-half hour session I can to the students, and turn in my mileage form -- then I'm out of their hair, except for the Tuesday night movie I provide free-of-charge for the students who have the time and inclination to soak that up). Yep, I'll be back in January, teaching drawing this time around. James, Michelle Ollie
, and I are still dancing around which day of the week will be my time to tango with this amazing group of students (and I do mean amazing), but it's all coming together. More news once it's fit to print!
* The big news that is fit to print is: my long-awaited book project We Are Going to Eat You!: The Definitive Edition at last has a publisher -- and what a publisher!
This past week, Harvey Fenton
of FAB Press
and I signed and sealed the contract for a revised, expanded, abundantly illustrated and absolutely definitive edition of my exhaustive overview of Third World cannibal movies from the 1890s to present. We've scheduled our efforts for a Summer 2007
release of finished product, and we've some real surprises in store (that I'll keep as surprises until we're further along).
The UK-based FAB Press
is one of the best genre film publishers in the world, and I'm honored to be under their umbrella. Harvey
has already published (and, in some cases, edited and/or co-authored) some of the most handsome, lavishly-produced, and beautifully packaged books of substance on all things cinematic, horrific and unusual. Among the many feathers in Harvey
's cap -- from many authors, mind you -- are mind-and-table bending books like the brand-new Book of the Dead: The Complete History of Zombie Cinema
, which joins the ranks of Ten Years of Terror: British Horror Films of the 1970s, Fear Without Frontiers: Horror Cinema Across the Globe, Shock! Horror! Astounding Artwork from the Video Nasty Era, Profondo Argento, Agitator: The Cinema of Takashi Miike, Iron Man: The Cinema of Shinya Tsukamoto, Art of Darkness: The Cinema of Dario Argento, Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci, Abel Ferrera: The Moral Vision, Beasts in the Cellar: The Exploitation Film Career of Tony Tenser, Making Mischief: The Cult Films of Pete Walker, Unruly Pleasures: The Cult Film and Its Critics, Wes Craven's Last House on the Left: The Making of a Cult Classic
(two editions), Making Friday the 13th: The Legend of Camp Blood, DVD Delirium
volumes 1 and 2, Eyeball Compendium, Flesh & Blood Compendium
, and -- appropriately enough, providing a rich precursor for my own book in the FAB
lineage -- Cannibal Holocaust and the Savage Cinema of Ruggero Deodato
, among others!
Oddly enough, though I wasn't aware of it until Harvey
presented me with a copy, my art previously appeared in one of FAB Press
's oddest tomes, AntiCristo: The Bible of Nasty Nun Sinema & Culture
-- turns out I did a sketch of a nasty nun for author Steve Fentone
at the London comics convention UKAK
back in 1991, and there she is, spitting up all over herself at the bottom of page 239.
Anyhoot, all these marvelous books and more (including Motion Picture Purgatory
, a collection of Montreal cartoonist extraordinaire Rick Trembles
amazing comics movie reviews, which I most highly recommend) are waiting for you over atFAB Press.
Come 2007, my gruesome cannibal movie tome will be among their number, and I can't dream of a happier home for my mutant offspring.
Perhaps a short history of my humble project is in order: the original We Are Going to Eat You!: The Third World Cannibal Movies and the Inside Story of the Goona-Goona Films
was completed in 1990, but I could not find a publisher at that time. It was a heady bit of research, completed looong before the era of in-depth books on such bizarre genres, loooooong before DVD (laserdisc was still in its early years), and looooooooooooong before any books at all existed on the subject (there have since been a couple worthy books on cannibal films, including Mikita Brottman
's Meat is Murder!
from Creation Books, 1997, though none are definitive). I was breaking new ground at the time, laboring to excavate all I could on this curious subject, with essential research input from folks like Craig Ledbetter, Tim Lucas, Michael H. Price, Chas Balun, Tim Caldwell, Douglas Winter
, the late Bill Kelley
A considerably truncated version of this original text was published in Chas Balun
's historic The Deep Red Horror Handbook
(FantaCo Enterprises, 1989), though I must add Chas
did an extraordinary job paring my massive scribblings down to a comprehensive read. A few photocopies of my complete ms. were circulating in the ensuing decade. The complete, unexpurgated version wasn't published until February of 2003, when I self-published an "Archival SpiderBaby Edition"
of the complete 1990 manuscript.
That curio clocked in at 336 pages, sporting a cover by yours truly for the squarebound photocopied tome (black and white; glue binding; protective plastic covers). Every copy was signed and personalized, available exclusively from SpiderBaby Grafix (and the couple of book dealers who picked it up for retail in the US and UK). The unadorned ms. was over 250 pages in length; the archival bound edition was a rough and ready affair, spiced with almost 100 pages of illustrations, including some of my own cannibal film and zombie artwork amid an eye-popping array (culled from the SpiderBaby archives) of super-rare movie pressbooks, clippings, ad mats, etc. from around the world, dating back to the 1890s. As I wrote in the publication announcement, "This is an archival reproduction of the original 1990 manuscript -- not typeset, but photocopied from the old Atari printer ms. -- which was completed
before the release of key mainstream cannibal epics like
Alive!, Silence of the Lambs and
Fried Green Tomotoes, the influx of Asian horrors, before the true-life horrors of Jeffrey Dahmer."
Continuing the ballyhoo for the now out-of-print archival edition:
___"What's important is what it DOES have:
*Analysis, insights, and behind-the-scenes stories of those bloody Italian cannibal gems like MAN FROM DEEP RIVER, THE LAST SURVIVOR/JUNGLE HOLOCAUST, TRAP THEM AND KILL THEM, MOUNTAIN OF THE CANNIBAL GOD, CANNIBAL APOCALYPSE/INVASION OF THE FLESH HUNTERS, EATEN ALIVE/THE EMERALD JUNGLE, DR. BUTCHER M.D./ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST, and CANNIBAL FEROX/MAKE THEM DIE SLOWLY.
* Cannibal cinema rarities like CANNIBALS OF THE SOUTH SEAS, A SCREAM IN THE NIGHT, WHAT'S BUZZING BUZZARD (Tex Avery's cannibal classic cartoon!), GOONA GOONA, FIVE CAME BACK, BACK TO ETERNITY, CANNIBAL ISLAND, SPIDER BABY, TERROR IN THE JUNGLE, AFRICA ADDIO/AFRICA BLOOD AND GUTS, the Mondo movies, THE WILD EYE, THE VALLEY (OBSCURED BY CLOUDS), HOW TASTY WAS MY LITTLE FRENCHMAN, MACUNAIMA, SURVIVE!, MONDO CANNIBALE, THE MAN HUNTER, CANNIBAL TERROR, CUT AND RUN, WHITE SLAVE, CANNIBAL TOURS, and more!
* Genre masterpieces including NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, SOYLENT GREEN, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, and others!
* Mainstream off-genre essentials like SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER!, THE SKY ABOVE THE MUD BELOW, THE NAKED PREY, WEEKEND, A MAN CALLED HORSE, WALKABOUT, AGUIRRE THE WRATH OF GOD, THE LAST MOVIE, QUEST FOR FIRE, THE EMERALD FOREST, THE MISSION, and other surprisingly key titles you wouldn't associate with the cannibal films you know and love.
Though much has happened to the cannibal genre in the decade+ since this was written, WE ARE GOING TO EAT YOU! remains a comprehensive overview of the cannibal film genre to that point in time, including coverage of many key films that remain ignored in the lavish full-color books that have been published since. This was a major undertaking, completed (but sadly unpublished) long before the contemporary explosion of cannibal coffee-table tomes.
From Martin and Osa Johnson's silent cannibal travelogues to GOONA GOONA and the Mondo films, from DR. X to CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST and beyond, it's all here, researched and dissected with the usual Bissettian obsessive intensity."
and I are already prepping the thousands of illustrations for the book -- it will be an eye-popping feast, in more ways than one. I'll be painting the cover art and providing numerous interior illustrations to accompany the array of archival illustrative materials. I've got months of work ahead of me revising the already expansive text, with much from the past 15 years to cover (and much from the previous century at last in reach and in need of coverage), and literally two file cabinets filled with notes and clippings to sort through and weave into the book.
So keep your eyes in their sockets for now and your cranium capped and we'll keep you posted on the coming developments as they congeal.
* BTW, the electricity is now on in the new studio/library/workspace, thanks to my stepson Mike and his fiance Mary, who completely juiced and lit the room before heading home around 6 PM tonight. Bless 'em!
I've started schlepping the books onto the shelves, though the heavy engagement with the process will have to wait until after my CCS Tuesday -- and, sigh, the carpeting. One more major hurdle to go, then I'll be writing and drawing in the new digs.
Well, that's my Sunday evening Monday & Tuesday morning entry. If you're checking this blog after 9:55 PM on Sunday night, be sure to scroll down to this morning's post, too -- this is my second of the day, anticipating a couple of days of no posts ahead.
See you all on Wednesday, unless I'm able to steal some time to get back to the keyboard between then and now...