Wednesday, July 26, 2017


One of the things which vanity- and third-press printing in the 1980s allowed creators to do was to take advantage of new vectors by which to distribute their work from a different medium. This was a helluva boon for the guys who scored daily strips in the college newspaper. If you were wondering where, on your local campus, you might find wan ripoffs of Far Side cartoons or thinly-veiled Bloom County rips, well, look no further! And as to how those endeavors could be passed on to the real world, keep reading ...

Seems pretty self-explanatory to me.

Charles A.Wagner's Cecil Kunkle (Darkline)
1 issue, 1987

Cecil Kunkle had gotten a run from Renegade Press several years before this release. Why it returned on the seemingly-inappropriate label "Darkline" is anyone's guess, although that's pretty rewarding, to imagine that this book is what these guys think constitutes "dark." Also entertaining is that Charles A.Wagner put his name on the masthead but the cover was drawn by Richard Lynn. I dunno, made me laugh.

Cecil Kunkle ran in the Comic Buyer's Guide for a while, earning itself a Slings&Arrows review which I won't repeat here but which I admit I'll never match for brevity and savagery.

The strips are, at best, really rough -- Cecil is the patriarch of a small, dull family, whose adventures sometimes involve the mention of a comic book or two. This is how he gets his foot in the door at CBR, presumably. An interstitial funny animal strip, Terry Turtle, seems to poorly represent both "funny" and "animals." I have to admire, though, the fact that Wagner apparently put his own money behind this second effort to get Cecil Klunke published, for all the good it did him. There's a reason I call these books the product of heroes, even if it's a wan sort of heroism that we might all have been better off without.

The Rubes Revue (Rubes Publications)
1 issue, November 1986

There's nothing quite like finding a comic which doesn't even have an entry in any of the comic book databases I most often frequent online. It smells like ... victory.

Rubes is still being published in -- according to creator Leigh Rubin's website -- 400 newspapers worldwide. I can't even fuckin' picture this. It is very much one of those newspaper strips which owes every debt in the world to Gary Larson, excepting maybe the birth of its creator and the fact that there is oxygen on the planet to sustain them.

Rubin also writers Penguin and Pencilguin, featuring the ever-appealing art of Phil Yeh. The jokes aren't much better than Rubes itself, but Yeh's artwork gives it some vibrancy and life. Please note which feature got the cover appearance, though.

Listen, I bark down its snorkel and everything, but Rubes is apparently still running thirty years after this book, and almost forty since Rubin created his original company (...for selling greeting cards. Was this the guy's dream?). What am I going to say, I guess it has its audience.

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