What a week! Thought Bubble is solidly behind us now, so time to look, once again, to the future. Onwards!
Dead Singers Society IV
I’m delighted to inform you that I will be featured in the forthcoming Good Comics anthology, Dead Singers Society IV. It’s available to pre-order here and is 60 pages of some extraordinary talents, so I was absolutely delighted to be included.
Good Comics put out a call recently for artists/writers to pitch work for the fourth (and apparently final) instalment of Dead Singers Society. The premise is that each contributor is given two pages max to either write or draw about a dead singer of their choosing. The only proviso, as far as I was aware, was that you could not cover somebody already featured in a prior edition.
Many of the people who sprung to mind for me were, understandably, taken; I was equally surprised by who wasn’t taken (D Boon, my first choice, was gone, only to look down the list and see that Buddy Holly, for instance, was not). Cobain and co (the usual suspects) were all gone, but after a little thinking, a light bulb went off; I decided to illustrate a short biocomic on G.G. Allin.
Why I Picked G.G. Allin
For those not familiar with G.G. Allin, he was a punk-rock frontman (G.G. Allin & The Murder Junkies), whose “main” compilation record, Hated In The Nation, is definitely worth a listen for people with allied tastes (if you like Black Flag, Misfits, Germs etc. it’s worth a go). Most people who attended G.G. Allin shows did not get to hear much of his repertoire, however; he is, in fact, most famous for his live performances, in which he would grace the stage in a white jock-strap (which would inevitably come off over the course of the show), typically defecate on the stage, and beat up his fans. He would punch them, they would punch him, he would wrestle with them and drag them on the stage, and they would all be rolling around in poop and blood. The band carried on to the best of their ability, but by this point in the shows it was largely just incidental music.
Video footage of G.G. Allin concerts is certainly something; I’ve attended some “rough” shows, but I have never seen anything like a G.G. Allin show, and hopefully never will. A mixture of Tom Hardy’s Bronson and Charles Manson, covered in homemade tattoos, G.G. Allin had the look of a caged animal in a lot of his videos (and I watched a lot of videos of G.G. in the research phase of the piece I did). Some people in the audience clearly came with the expressed intent of getting into it with Allin, as some concerts do not make it more than a minute in before G.G. is fully nude and engaging in quite direct fistfighting with members of the audience (who seem to be enjoying the process; I sometimes wonder if these people, now in their 50s or older, think back fondly on the time G.G. Allin beaned them with a microphone and smeared turds on them). Venues would, almost invariably, pull the plug before the show had finished; perhaps thinking this would placate Allin, much as a towel over a bird’s cage convinces them it is night-time (this seldom worked on Allin). He would stalk around, nude, scowling, covered in blood and faeces, before the crowd was inevitably driven back and the show brought to a halt. Allin was no stranger to county jails. Shows would be cancelled or moved, but the G.G. Allin machine seemed almost impervious to systematic shunning; he remained in high demand until his death (Hated In The Nationfeatures a section of his answer machine cassette, in which he is offered show after show, including a support for the Dead Kennedys; one promoter, obviously aware of the connotations Allin’s name may bring, asked him to lie at the door if asked who he was).
G.G. Allin died of a drug overdose after a show in 1993. His brother arranged an open-casket funeral for Allin, who had received no cosmetic or hygiene treatment from the mortician; his face puffy and red, Allin lay on a folding table in the middle of a living room, dressed in his trademark jockstrap and leather jacket, still caked in whatever was on him during his final show. People poured whiskey into his mouth and rubbed his head. I know this, because his funeral was filmed, and is also on YouTube (as “The Final Hellride”). His tombstone had to be removed because die-hard fans would routinely urinate and defecate on it, thinking it fitting tribute to a man who had seemingly dedicated his life to rounding up bored punks and rolling around in his droppings with them. Such was the life and times of G.G. Allin. RIP in peace.
G.G. Allin was not a nice man; his list of convictions is unpleasant reading, and my piece on him in DSS4 is not intended to venerate or revere him. I did wonder if G.G. would be suitable subject matter, but I think with fabled figures like G.G. Allin (not that there’s many), you’re ultimately dealing largely with myth rather than man. Allin’s legacy is so absurd, his on-stage persona so repulsive that it has rendered Allin impervious to hyperbole; it is impossible to overstate how much of a mess his live shows were, or to exaggerate the extent of his villainy. I could have picked somebody else, of course I could have. But as the legend of G.G. Allin is so captivating, and has so thoroughly pervaded branches of U.S. punk rock, I couldn’t resist the temptation to try and twist it into an entertaining comic.
If you do pick up the compilation, I hope you enjoy it.
Other Business: New Release for 2018
I announced on Twitter the other day that I have a new book coming out. I am happy to report that my original report is still true.
The comic is called “PLAN A” and “PLAN B”. It has two titles on purpose. More will be shared about the exact nature and mechanics of Plan A/Plan B nearer its November release, but for now enjoy this sample art.
The Floating Hand is still being worked on, but – with Adrift, Thought Bubble, and now this – has been pushed to the back end of the year. There will come a time when work must cease on my first graphic novel (particularly as the script for my second – which is substantially longer and more involved than The Floating Hand – has largely been written already, and will have to commence at some point). When I will have to down tools, and let it out into the wider world. But that time is not now.
As things stand, I’m fairly happy with the 2018 catalogue. I’ve released two one-shots (Adrift and Bald, both of which got kind reviews), have another coming, and am on the home stretch with a hundred-page graphic novel. Could have done more, but eh. Got to make time for yourselves lads.
- Please buy Dead Singers Society IV here.
- New book coming soon.
- Please buy that too.
- G.G. Allin wasn’t very nice