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“Putting together the new UNDERWORLD collection with Kaz was something of a revelation to me. Although I’ve loved the strip for over two decades now, and enthusiastically greenlit the book the moment that Kaz pitched the idea to me, I’d honestly forgotten just how good of a cartoonist Kaz is, and how great of a strip UNDERWORLD is. It’s a singularly great comic strip, one of the last in a dying breed: the alt-weekly strip, which operated free of the editorial constraints of the big syndicates. It reads like a profane, postmodern, punk apotheosis of many of the best strips of the 20th Century, notably Segar’s Thimble Theater, Bushmiller’s Nancy, and Gould’s Dick Tracy. Though the format may seem increasingly anachronistic, Underworld‘s content remains as potent as anything the medium has produced over the past quarter-century. In other words, it’s a fucking hoot, and if you’ve never read it, you’re in for a treat. –Eric Reynolds.” Read the rest of the story Comics Journal Review Editor Pick
For everyone who showed up for all of the book signings, from Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, and Jersey City thanks, it was so much fun. For those who couldn’t make it two of the interviews are available online. Click below, to listen to the Los Angeles Skylight Books Signing. Thanks to everyone who came out to Skylight Books in Los Feliz and made the Underworld book signing one of the most successful book signing for me so far. Special thanks to Ben Schwartz for moderating the evening and Bridie Macdonald for her beautiful work on designing the book. Click below to listen to the signing at Word in Jersey City. It was great to see everyone, my old friend Chris T. (now SirusXM and WFMU radio personality) who interviewed me. On my name and working in the factory and my secret desire for Los Angeles.
How much has your family influenced your work? There was a lot of fighting and yelling in my working class household growing up. We were all competing, trying to one-up each other. My father was a sweet man who wanted to be a priest before immigrating to the United States from Lithuania. My mother also from Lithuania, was a very young and tightly wound woman. She loved stories and playing and encouraged my artistic endeavors as best as she could. I inherited her imagination, though hers was light and moral while mine was dark and subversive. Which works (art, TV, comics,) left a mark on you as a kid? At my youngest I loved The Wizard of Oz, Peanuts, and Bugs Bunny. Later I discovered The Marx Brothers, W.C. Fields, Mark Twain, and Krazy Kat. Discovering old Dick Tracy comics in my early teens was a revelation. I loved how hard and violent they were while at the same time looking very stylized and cartoony. I discovered underground comics in the early 70’s and decided that’s what I wanted to do. After some dead-end jobs you decide to attend the School of Visual Arts in New York City. What are your memories of the time? They were great times learning about art and discovering how fun New York City was in the 70’s and 80’s. I devoured art in the museums and galleries and film in the revival houses. I often found the possibilities of art overwhelming. I didn’t know if I should stick to my idea of being a cartoonist or paint, do sculpture, film, or animation. I made a bunch of like-minded friends, went out to punk rock clubs, and started getting my comics published. You start to develop Underworld in early 90’s. How was the comic born? …
by Kaz All the noses had a party In the month of May Snots and boogers tried to get in But were turned away Some were stuffed and some were snorting And some of them were blown Everybody picked on Nose Job For being so well known Schnoz and Honker sniffed at Nasal And tried to pull his hair While Snooty stayed above it all By being in the air The noses that were brown blew smoke At noses that were ruddy The whole affair did not conclude Till every nose was bloody
LATEST IN UNDERWORLD
Jokes like this have been made about blood sucking before. Sergio Aragones in Mad had a great strip back in the 70’s about a vampire sucking a hippy’s blood and tripping. And the FX TV show version of What We Do in the Shadows did this idea three weeks ago. My version is more deadly
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UNDERWORLD FROM HOBOKEN TO HOLLYWOOD OMNIBUS
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).