Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Compiling Taboo Tidbits
Plus: Defying Bush, Heavy Metal 2009, Grimes and Pan

A catch-up scour of the online news venues for my birth date confirmed that
  • House Democrats are, at last, standing up to President Bush's bullying and bullshit --
  • -- too late to make a difference to our collective plight, alas (or didn't you notice the Bear Stearns calamity, the first of its kinds since the Great Depression -- and what heavily-leveraged Wall Street firm is next to go?), but it's heartening to see any organized resistance from any branch of our government to the President and his cronies. It only took the House's "first secret session in a quarter-century," but still. Given the disastrous consequences of the Bush Presidency we're seeing almost daily now, one can only wonder how deep the holes we've dug ourselves into really are.

  • Other news: Kevin Eastman, co-directing a new animated Heavy Metal movie? Yep, you bet!
  • David Fincher (Se7en, Zodiac, etc.) is at the helm, too, with Tim Miller producing; this from Dark Horizons scribe Garth Franklin, Variety, and thanks to Mark Masztal for bringing this to our attention. It's gotta be better than Heavy Metal 2000/F.A.K.K.2 (2000), and I was never enamored with the 1981 original, but it was what it was when it was, and that's something. We'll see if Fincher can shape something more substantial and coherent for the 21st Century HM movie... I wish 'em all luck.

    Taboo 6 was the first to sell out completely; what issue will be forever gone from the SpiderBaby backstock archives next? Cover by Cru Zen.

    Work on the Bissette website continues, with a shot in the arm coming from my at last purchasing a sorely-needed, brand-new computer. This will also result in a major revamp/reboot of this blog, so watch for that, too.

    While awaiting the computer's arrival and set-up, I'm culling my shelves and files for Taboo tidbits of info and art I can share on my new site, and I welcome any published critical pieces or quotes about Taboo anyone might know of. It's been interesting seeing how and where, with hindsight, how comics and media scholars and historians see my humble collaborative efforts on Taboo (co-founded by John Totleben, initially sponsored and funded by Dave Sim, co-edited and co-published via SpiderBaby Grafix with my first wife Marlene O'Connor, then co-published with Tundra Publishing Ltd., concluded with Kitchen Sink Press). Those ten volumes (Taboo 1-9, Taboo Especial) indeed kicked up some dust and have a recognized legacy beyond just being the discarded cocoon for lasting works like From Hell and Lost Girls.

    I recall years ago finding a fat text-only paperback book on the zine culture in a Barnes & Noble that included among its FactSheet 5 et al coverage a very complimentary writeup of Taboo in the context of the late '80s/1990s alternative zine universe; alas, the book was gone when I went back to buy it, and I've never been able to recall what the book's title was. Anyone out there have any ideas what it might have been?

    In the meanwhile, I have found numerous references and complimentary writeups in various books on horror comics and genre literature that are in my home library, including non-English texts I'll be seeking translation help on. For instance, note David Kendall's kind words in Below Critical Radar: Fanzines and Alternative Comics from 1976 to Now (edited by Roger Sabin and Teal Triggs, Slab-O-Concrete, 2002? -- no copyright year listed):

    Taboo 7: 'nuclear family' cover by Joe Coleman.

    "...the ultimate in alternative horror comics was Taboo (founded 1988) -- independent and controversial, it proved that the genre wasn't going to slink away at the end of the twentieth century; that the ghost walk would continue. A third of its nine [sic] anthology book-sized issues were seized by Customs in the UK, Canada and New Zealand, leading to distribution problems for other issues. When comics are finally included in the cultural history of literature this form of censorship will be seen as brave publishers/artists fighting complacent outdated authority. Yet, throughout the 1990s it was simply reported as the seizure of 'obscene material,' disconnected from its artistic content. Evidently, comics are so far under the radar they're not even considered worth defending. Horror comics doubly so.... Indeed, in its long run Taboo managed to bridge the gap between pre-Code horror comics and post-Exorcist trends in the cinema..." (pp. 55-56)

    There's more from David's generous assessment that I could quote, but I'll save it for the website, and welcome leads on or digital transcriptions of any other published Taboo overviews out there.

    Yesterday I mentioned the planned fan site for my old Kubert School pioneer class amigo and vet Taboo contributor Rick Grimes. I should also let you know that
  • Taboo and Rick Grimes fan Ryan Heslin created this tasty non-profit fan site up for Pan & Robert Lelievre.

  • As a fellow fan of all things Danish, I quite enjoyed what I found there, and thought you might, too. I'll quote Ryan's brief, "Pan were a Danish prog/psych/blues rock band from the early 70's which featured the following musicians: Robert Lelievre (vocals, guitars), Thomas Puggaard-Müller (lead guitar), Henning Verner (piano, organ, vibes), Arne Würgler (bass, cello), Michael Puggaard-Müller (drums), and in the group's second incarnation: Jens Elbøl (bass) Torben Enghoff (sax, flute) and Nils Tuxen (steel guitar)."

    Check it out, and enjoy the tunes.

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