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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? …
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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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).