Comic Books

Comic Books (RW17)

Many of John's friends like Merlin, Dan and Hodgman read superhero comics which is not something John enjoys. Instead he grew up during the era of alternative comics. A lot of them were narrations of regular people's lives, like American Splendor or Dirty Plotte, created by a generation of young cartoonists who hated the existing comics and did cinéma vérité. John has a pretty extensive collection that he never talks about and that he bought pretty carefully and enthusiasticly during the 1990:s. It affected him very strongly when he was young. It felt like the movie Slacker, except it was comic books. John loved the different styles and the story telling, because it reflected human life.

There is such a preponderance of fantasy and magic powers, mutants, zombies, whole universes of the fantastical that never grabbed him, not even when he was a kid. In the 1970:s Spider-Man was very sarcastic. He was a teenager with a girlfriend and was very flippant. John would pick Archie Comics over Spiderman or Batman, because at least it was about real teenage problems. John's favorite magazine was Mad Magazine. Cracked was sub-par. He switched over to National Lampoon later. One of John's alternative comics was Drinky Crow, featuring an often drunk crow and an Irish monkey. The artist was Tony Millionaire and John once bought the original art of one of the strips. John is even friends with some of those artists, like Ed Brubacker or Julie Doucet.

Comic Books (RW80)

In the past there was an auto part store right in the center of Capitol Hill that was run by two Hippie brothers. One of them was really skinny and looked exactly like Freewheelin' Franklin and the other one was big and stout and looked exatly like Fat Freddie, two of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, not far off the guys in The Banana Splits. The name of the third Freak Brother was Phineas Phreak, who does not look anything like the other two. That comic was a big influence on John as a teen. It is an alternative comic, or alt-comic. John gets a lot of flak from his nerd bretheren for not having read Marvel Comics as a kid. Instead he consumed alt-comics at a crazy pace in the form of

Dan has read the National Lampoon as well, it was amazing! John's mom was not afraid of John seeing boobs. She understood that he was sophisticated and she felt like it was okay for him to be participating in a culture that was more adult than kid. National Lampoon was college humor, a lot of it was gross-out, and a lot of it was pretty sophisticated for a 10-12 year old. It had a shaping effect! The Freak Brothers were all about drugs and thwarting the cops, like The Three Stooges. Trots and Bonnie by Shary Flenniken was a good National Lampoon comic. They were super-influential! John would buy these comics at head shops, like 4 for $1. They were 1960:s and 1970:s Hippie comics and by the time John was sneaking into pawn shops and head shops in the early 1980:s, he could find them on fire sale in a shoe box because nobody was into them at the time.

John doesn't know why he was so into that culture. At one of the places they had a blow-up punching bag of Richard Nixon. It was meant to sit on the floor, but instead of punching it, you were supposed to kick it as you walked through the house and it would flop over and fly through the air. It was called "Kick Tricky Dick". Because nobody cared about Richard Nixon anymore in 1981 it was on sale for $0,99 and John just had to have it without knowing why. Obviously his family was opposed to Nixon, but John wasn't mad at him and he didn't need to kick him, so the doll just kind of sat there.

Dan selling comic books and his Star Wars posters (RW81)

The watches Dan sold in September of 2017 went back into the stream and to the next guy who will maybe keep them for a few years. It was the same with the comic books that he had collected since High Schools and had schlepped around all over the place. He thought he was going to read them again or his kids might want them, but both were not the case. Their digital versions don’t take up any space in the closet, so he finally took them to the Austin Books and Comics and ”sold them” for barely any money. Now somewhere else is enjoying them! The most expensive comic book Dan had for sale was Albedo No 2 from November 1984, the first appearance of Usagi Yojimbo, a samurai rabit and very long-running comic by Stan Sakai. He had done the lettering in Groo and then went on to do Usagi Yojimbo. Dan’s Albedo No 2 had a CGC-grading of 9,6, which was unheard of. He had bought it in an auction online and it was not cheap, but it was the thing he had always wanted. After a few years he realized it was just sitting in a box in his closet, not being enjoyed. He sold it on eBay and made around $1000-$1500 from it.

There is a company in Austin called Mondo. They do really cool T-shirts, posters and other things like that. They had a special engagement at the Alamo Drafthouse showing the first three original Star Wars movies (for example here) and they released a series of authorized movie posters along with it, designed by the amazing artist Olly Moss. It is very rare that LucasFilm would even allow something like this to go on, let alone have special new posters and merchandise made for it. You couldn’t just go to the site and buy them, but they had a crazy system where they would announce on Twitter as soon as they were available. It was notorious that the Mondo stuff would sell out almost instantaneously and they had maybe only 300 of those posters. There are a lot of Star Wars people out there who wanted to get their hands on one! Dan took it as a challenge to try to get them by automating things. He wrote a Ruby script that would check the page every second if it had changed and notify him. Dan got all three posters! They are sequentially numbered which is apparently a big deal. He paid maybe $300 and they are selling now for $4000-$5000 for the set, so he is now planning on selling them. They are just sitting in the closet of his house!

John loves that Dan is gaming so many systems and he wishes that he could do it a little bit better, because he is not in the game of writing scripts about anything.

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