Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Hey, that ain't no pterodactyl!

Time is tight this morn, but thanks to an email from Jeffrey Meyer (thanks, Jeff!) and his link to
  • this splendid site, ”Lost Jazz/Prog Treasures,”
  • I can share this zany jewel of Dino Pop with you! Art by
  • Hans Arnold,
  • evocative of both Hannes Bok (among my fave of all the classic sf and fantasy pulp illustrators) and Texan cartoonist/painter/philosopher/teacher Kenneth Smith, by my eye.

    I just finished the final polish on my introduction for Rob Walton's upcoming 350-page graphic novel Ragmop, hands down my fave comic of both 1996 and 2006 -- and boy, are my arms tired.

    What to know more?

    Here's an excerpt:

    "I can’t help it.

    I cannot read the title of this book without hearing a certain sea-sick sea-serpent twisting his mouth around the syllables of one of the songs I associate with my wayward TV-viewing youth:

    “R --
    I say ‘R’, ‘A’ --
    ‘R’, ‘A’, ‘G’ --
    ‘R’, ‘A’, ‘G’ ‘G’ --
    ‘R’, ‘A’, ‘G’, ‘G’, ‘M’, ‘O’, ‘P’, ‘P’ -- !”

    Once I get around that, I begin reading. I’m barraged with more associative links with my -- our -- Rob Walton’s and mine, yours and my -- childhood baggage: dinosaurs, Bob Clampett cartoons, Dr. Seuss, Ray Harryhausen’s
    First Men “In” The Moon (the first movie I ever saw in a theater that I had picked for the family to see!), the Pope, the Kennedy Assassination, Jack Kirby comics, Harvey, Archie, The Music Man, Hanna-Barbera cartoons, The Wizard of Oz and They Saved Hitler’s Brain and God and the Piltdown Man and conspiracy theories and Roswell and (moving into my high school and college years) John Lennon and the Illuminati and The Sting and -- it’s all here. But it doesn’t impede my reading, it fuels it.

    Here’s the whole 20th Century shooting match, ripping into our 21st Century miasma of religious fervor, xenophobic paranoia and power-hungry zealots, all high-speed blendered into some demented frothy concoction that leaves me high and giddy and sticky and hungry for more, like some new permutation of masturbation or interspecies intercourse.

    And we all have Rob Walton to thank for it.

    Rob refers himself with some modesty as “Writer, Director, Actor, Cartoonist, Publisher, Storyboard Artist, Movie Extra.” He’s indeed that and a whole lot more. He’s also a great cartoonist and a grand fellow, though he’s loathe to cop to either claim, modest and self-immolating tortured theologian-at-heart that he is.

    Since he won’t accept such compliments face-to-face, I’m reduced to writing them to you, dear reader, so you can pass them on to Rob in a sanctioned literary form he might accept -- the (ahem) “introduction.” This leaves us both in the position of students passing notes in class and sniggering over them until Rob hears us and exacts some form of corporal punishment, including (but not restricted to) forcing me to stand in the corner in a crucifixion-like position, with both arms outstretched, hands open and palms up, with multiple copies of the King James Bible placed in each palm, until -- oh, no, wait. That’s what Sister Rasputin (name changed to protect the Catholic Church) made me do back in catechism when I asked about evolution and Neanderthals and the Garden of Eden. Sorry, it keeps coming back. Rob didn’t make me do that. (But he might make you do that. So just
    pay attention, will you? God!)

    Rob malingers in and about East Toronto and knows his theology inside and out (and his brother Brad knows economics, so watch your mouth -- better yet, go
    wash your mouth). Religious studies beckoned; Rob chose the inky path instead, which is where he and I eventually crossed paths, shaking ink-stained fingers and commiserating over the upheavals in the direct sales market just as we finally got our shit together enough to self-publish our respective pet projects. Little did we know how my leading he and his family through a pitch-black Vermont night over 30 miles on some of the curviest, most hazardous roads in the whole of the Northeastern US would prove to be a perfect real-life metaphor for what lay ahead for both of us in the comics direct-sales market -- but that’s another story."

    (Cover for the collected Ragmop)

    You want more? Quit fucking about and pre-order
  • Rob Walton’s incredible Ragmop complete edition (with intro by yours truly and, via Paneltopanel, an exclusive signed full-color bookplate)
  • and be quick about it.

    (And yes, Steve & Tom, I'm finally wrapping up that Time Spirits book intro, too.)

    More later, if and as time permits --

    -- with Part the Third of the ongoing Home Movie Day diary posting tomorrow AM, promise!