send them packin': back to the maus haus?

raw ..feed it to the wolves…

by Art Chantry (

Everybody knows how special RAW magazine. was. them new yorkers credit ol’ artie spiegelman (and his crony/wifey, francoise mouley) for literally discovering the wonderful world of comics under some rock out there and presenting it to them new yorkers (and therefore the world) as “art” worthy of adult attention (“not just for kids any more”. choke.) since RAW discovered underground cartoon art (for the first time), many of those ‘artists’ have gone on to celebrated careers in art museums and hollywood and publishing RESPECT. amazing service old artie speigelman did for all them lowly cartoon ‘outsider’ artists, don’t you think? the man is a hero, just ask him.

AC:the reason you don't know about this stuff is that history is written by the winners - and we're all losers on this bus. that's 'cos we don't have the sheer intelligence to live in nyc. troo fax, dat!

well, while RAW was sucking up the glory back in the late 70’s/early 80’s, there was another comic publication that was devoured by us tasteless unsophisticated losers out here in the boonies. it was called WEIRDO. now, THAT was a comic mag!

originally edited by mr. robert crumb and later edited by Punk Magazine alumni peter bagge, weirdo was a respectable comic ‘zine of no respectability. every ‘arteest’ presented to the new york art world inside the pages of RAW were also present in weirdo. but, there were a LOT more people that weirdo presented that would NEVER have been allowed to grace the pages of RAW. and the amazing artists they presented to the world for the first time is like a roster of everybody who was at all interesting or cool over the last 30 years.

in fact, the work in weirdo was so much cooler than RAW (aka – cheezy) that most of us in nowheresville seattle of the 80’s lavished attention on every issue of weirdo and barely sniffed at RAW. we LOVED weirdo. the pass-along readership in our circles was probably 100%. by comparison, nobody could afford to buy RAW, so the readership pass-along was probably like zero.

Read More: Josh Alan Friedman:Messrs. Crumb and Bagge took up opposite corners. Crumb, the publishing tycoon, resided behind a big oak desk, always with the calabash pipe and deerstalker cap. Large chorus girls, eyes cast down in shame, were ushered in by Irving, the buxom blonde receptionist. And Bagge’s office was the command center, to the right. He was the schmeichler, the two-fisted tough guy, a cigar clenched in his jaw. He assigned cartoons through a battery of phones and intercoms. In between, a sea of cartoonists at their easels lined up in military formation. It was there where I removed my hat before Chief Bagge—who accepted my first pitch: a series of scripts, to be drawn by my brother Drew, depicting the secret homosexual liaisons between Rock Hudson and Jim Nabors! Ladies and gentlemen, that was Weirdo.

this illustration is crumb’s take on the demented work of rory hayes for the cover of issue #8. i pulled this off the wall of my friend skip jensen’s office. he’s had it hanging up there among his crap for decades. he runs a tshirt business and i think he was once hired to print a run of these for somebody somewhere sometime (not bootleg). but, he kept this and hung it and it’s been there ever since. a shrine.

It’s an interesting item. the design is a parody of the early MAD magazine covers where they (in return) parodied old national geographic covers, which always had that peculiar b&w line art border treatment. so, crumb’s twist was a fake rory hayes plastered into a parody of MAD doing a parody of national geographic. THAT’s the sort of humor that weirdo loved. everything required you to be so far on the inside of the underground that you actually GOT the jokes being played by the cartoonists – layers upon layers upon layers of referential humor. it was a great mag to get stoned to and groove on.

This particular image is also a b&w image (the original cover was full color) repro of the original crumb drawing. on the back is an imprint saying this was property of some museum and on loan from the collection of steve martin (a bigshot famous LA art junkie as well as a comedian). so, the object (the print) itslelf had referential humor built into it as well. you couldn’t read the imprint on the back and not laugh at the irony – THE steve martin and some lame ass museum getting all huffy about the copyrights on a crumb drawing that they own the original art. who’s ass are they protecting, eh?

anyway, this is a favorite mid-period crumb image. at this point crumb was pretty nasty, almost punk in his attitude. we loved it. we loved weirdo. we didn’t love RAW. RAW was too pretentious for us.

Read More: ---He was baffled by one of his covers for Weirdo magazine by going “What the fuck is that?” He spoke of his work with the New Yorker and the covers he did for them. Mentioned that former collaborator S. Clay Wilson is now brain damaged after a drunken fall. The popular Robert Johnson postage stamp was actually Robert’s drawing…but they took the cigarette out. He does listen to CDs of his favorite genres of music if he can’t get the 78. Although music is influential on his style…he works in total silence when he’s working on a comic. During the question and answer segment, someone asked if he was going to draw the Torah or Qur’an. With an emphatic no and laughter from the audience, he said basically that the books were too old and they have been translated so much that it would be almost impossible to do that. Then, a young black girl with braids and basically Crumb’s body type asked about his first LSD experience. After Robert’s first acid trip, he didn’t see the world the same. He saw it as a “cardboard farce.” Interesting enough, the trip was odd for Dana as well. During this psychedelic experience, Robert and Dana were tripping so hard that he vomited on her. She didn’t realize it was vomit and thought she was being reborn. He quit doing acid after that. He smoked a lot of pot daily for years afterwards, but quit in the late 70’s. He more or less said drugs aren’t necessary; you’d be surprised by the power of your own mind. He also talked about the differences between America and France. One example being that the health care system in France is free. When Sophie was in labor and delivered the baby, it was free. He also re-iterated a point about the corporate structure of America and how it was messing us over....---

AC:i did have fun at his PUYALLUP lecture. i just get tired of that crappy nyc ‘tude he wears like a crown. i’m just sick of him and francoise. aren’t you? isn’t everybody? little arrogant comicworld demigogs. make me puke. provincial twits.

but that’s just one man’s opinion….in reality, i’m not so much picking on art spiegelman so much as i’m picking on the whole idea of new york city as the center of everything worth knowing. i think that’s laughable – unless you live in nyc. then you think it’s true….it snows in nyc and it’s national news. when was the last time you heard about seattle weather on the national media?

make me laugh. nyc is choking on it’s own dick most of the time.

i sometimes wish the city would just shut the switch off for 24 hours so the rest of the entire nation can catch a break.

but i digress….

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