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Where Demented Wented: The Art & Comics of Rory Hayes

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I’ve posted briefly about Rory Hayes and the Mark Beyer connection before. I recently got ‘Where Demented Wented: The Art & Comics of Rory Hayes‘ from Nostalgia & Comics in Birmingham.


This is a real insight into Hayes’ work. It isn’t a simple collection of Hayes’ art & comics, but includes articles and interviews that open up your understanding of an artist whose work is largely disturbing and unappealing. It seems that while many of his contemporaries were producing work that rebelled against the comics code or explored taboos, Hayes’ early work embraced the comics that sparked the code and produced comics that emulated the storytelling conventions of the pre-code EC Horror comics such as Bogeyman Comics, sadly not reprinted in their entirety in this book.

The book also features a strip about Hayes by Bill Griffith (of Zippy fame). Griffith had this to say about Hayes;

Rory Hayes was the real thing; a genuine ‘outsider’ artist working alongside his more self-aware compatriots in the heady days of the San Francisco Underground Comix scene of the 1960s and ’70s. His work retains its raw, primitive power to this day, teetering precariously between chaos and control, madness and oddly endearing teddy bears.

Hayes has what you might generously call ‘limited appeal’ to the general public. You have been warned – these stories aren’t for everyone.

An introduction and 19-page excerpt are available from the Fantagraphics site.


Written by The Department of Illustration

September 8, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Nostalgia & Comics needs you!

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Richard Cowdry (of Bedsit Journal fame) writes about Birmingham’s Nostalgia & Comics and their push for more small press submissions.

This is great news, as decent shops that are welcoming to, and actually engaging with small press and indy creators are not only rare, but can have a hugely beneficial effect on the scene and artform. One word of encouragement, one extra comic sold, can make all the difference to someone who is just testing the waters… or to seasoned self-publishers for that matter.

I was in Nostalgia & Comics just the other day and picked up a bunch of cool new books, and a very pleasant experience it was too.

Written by The Department of Illustration

September 7, 2009 at 8:51 pm

Posted in Buy This, Comics, News, Zines

Jeet Heer on R. Crumb’s Genesis

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Jeet Heer has a review of R. Crumb’s (soon to be released in the uk) Book of Genesis Illustrated.

Surprisingly, given his reputation as the chief sexist of underground comics, Crumb has taken a strongly feminist slant on Genesis. Influenced, as he notes in the commentary, by scholars like Savina Teubal, Crumb sees within the book a struggle between two religious systems: the familiar patriarchal God of the fathers (whose story runs from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob to Joseph) existing side by side with a covert matrilineal traditional of powerful women (including Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel).

I for one can’t wait for this.

Written by The Department of Illustration

September 4, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Posted in Advice, Buy This, Comics, Review

Jim Medway Recommends

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mawilJim Medway recommends a couple of books this week, notably Sparky O’Hare by German cartoonist Mawil.

I think I’m going to have to hunt these down…

Written by The Department of Illustration

September 1, 2009 at 7:39 pm

Posted in Advice, Buy This, Comics, Review

Alexa Kitchen

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20090830_ftr_kitchenAlexa Kitchen is a cartoonist who has been nominated for both a Harvey Award for Best New Talent and an Eisner Award for Best Publication for a Younger Audience.

Oh. And she is only 12 years old.

Written by The Department of Illustration

September 1, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Posted in Buy This, Comics, Interview

Dash Shaw asks Hope Larson about editors

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Dash Shaw, writing for Comics Comics talks to Hope Larson, author of Salamander Dream, Gray Horses and Chiggers about her experiences of working with editors.

I send in the troubled first draft of my script, and my editor (and her editorial assistant, if she has one) sends me reams of notes that address the themes of the book and problems with structure and character, plus a few niggly little notes. This batch of notes always starts with a paragraph or two telling me how great I am, how much they like the script, and how I don’t have to make any changes I don’t want to make. (Usually the notes are spot-on, but there have been times when I’ve refused to change a line, or omit a swear, or disagreed about the direction a scene should go.)

Notes do sting, but they leave me invigorated, ready to dive back into the story with greater awareness of both its weaknesses and its strengths. Many–or most–of my writing epiphanies are the result of an editor saying, “This doesn’t work. You need to rethink this.”

Written by The Department of Illustration

September 1, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Seen Watchmen and are wondering who this Moore Chap is, eh?

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Written by The Department of Illustration

August 31, 2009 at 8:05 pm