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Trashed Magazine – Interview

From Trashed! Magazine Fall 2006

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Comics Journal – Interview

Kaz Interview Conducted by John Kelly Excerpted from TCJ #186 Kazimieras G. Prapuolenis — or the artist formally known as Kaz — first burst onto the comic culture scene in the late 1970s through his appearances in Art Spiegelman’s RAW (along with his School of Visual Arts classmates Drew Friedman and Mark Newgarden). Those early strips, an edgy mix of punk rock and classic comic aesthetics, served notice of the arrival of new voice that was both pioneering as well as grounded in the medium’s traditions. And like fellow RAW alumni Gary Panter (with whom he shares more than a few influences) and Charles Burns, Kaz’s style has evolved to where it is instantly recognizable — especially when it pops up in the work of other artists he’s “influenced.” Born to Lithuanian immigrants in Hoboken, N.J. in 1959, Kaz has created an impressive and immense body of comic strip and illustration work through his apprearances in Weirdo, Bad News, the East Village Eye, The Village Voice, Details, Nickelodeon, The New Yorker, Swank, Eclipse, N.Y. Rocker, Screw, and Bridal Guide, along with many other comics, magazines and fanzines. Since 1992 his weekly comic strip Underworld has appeared in alternative weekly newspapers across the country. Along with Glenn Head, he co-edited the comics anthology Snake Eyes, and has three collections of his work available from Fantagraphics: Buzzbomb, Underworld, and most recently, Sidetrack City. Other projects include the cover for writer Mark Leyner’s book My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist, various work for Topps Trading Cards and Pee-wee Herman Toy Designs, as well as several animation and Internet projects currently in the works. Kaz lives in a pop culture-cluttered apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side along with his girlfriend, Linda Marotta, a book buyer for Shakespeare and Company and book reviewer for Fangoria magazine. The …

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Carbon 14 – Interview

Say what you will about the “nihilism” that abounds in cartoonist Kaz’s strip Underworld, but don’t say it doesn’t make you laugh. The twisted inner-city universe of Underworld, whose bizarre streets are populated by characters steeped in cynicism and looking like Looney Tunes gone horribly wrong, appears in newspapers nationwide. It features such endearing personalities as Smoking Cat, who walks like a human and smokes like the Marlboro man; Snuff, the (anti-)Popeye; and Nuzzle, who’s always got a syringe of something stuck in his shoulder (and will soon be gracing a Smoke King lighter). The strip has also been collected into two volumes, the latest of which, Barebulbs: Underworld 2, has recently been published by Fantagraphics. He’s also done two other books, Buzzbomb and Sidetrack City, which feature everything from strips to one and two-page comics to long, narrative stories. “Sidetrack City,” the story, is nearly 30 pages of eyeball-popping mayhem that conjures up images of rejected sets and aliens from Lost In Space merged with what Burroughs’ Interzone might look like on really evil acid. Kaz’s work is filled with black humor of the highest quality and imagery that’s funny and disturbing. It’s disarmingly linear and surreal at the same time, making you go back and read parts of it twice to make sure you’ve gleaned all that’s happening in each highly detailed panel.–Larry C14: Are you basically a life-long New Yorker, or as close to that as one can be? Kaz: I guess I’m as close to one as one can be. Hoboken is across the river. Although I’ve only been living in New York proper for about five years. C14: Are you actually a trained artist? Kaz: Well, I’m not sure what that means. I did take courses at School of Visual Arts, illustration courses and whatnot, …

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Greatest Story

Greatest Story

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Underworld Book

Order “The Underworld: From Hoboken to Hollywood” the omnibus collection of the very best of the strip’s 23-year run, with annotations, photos, and other surprises from the author (along with a foreword by Mutts creator Patrick McDonnell).

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