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A One Act Play by Kaz Setting: The research and development offices of Hubble Bubble Chewing Gum Company, fine makers of novelty toys and bubble gum cards. We see Ira Shwartz sitting at his desk on the phone holding a small toy. Ira: Wang, Wang. Listen, Wang. You got the Snot Rockets all wrong. First of all they’re suppose to be three inches and you gave me one and a half inches. Right, a three inch plastic nose. And it’s suppose to be a Caucasian nose. This one’s yellow. It’s for the American market. I don’t care what color noses are in Hong Kong. Ours are pink. Yes that’s right ,Wang I have a pink nose. No, my nose is not three inches long. It needs to be that size to fit the snot shooter inside. And where are the warts that I asked for? The warts on the nose. Look at the blueprints. There’s three warts on the drawing. Warts. Hard round lumps on the skin. They’re caused by a virus. No, I don’t want them seperate. Just follow the blueprint. What do you mean an extra ten thousand dollars? Everything I’m saying is in the contract. Remember, the trigger in the nose has got to shoot a jelly-like substance. The trigger you got in here is too powerful. They’re snots not bullets. It wouldn’t be bad if this was a booger rocket toy but all the labels and ad copy have been printed already saying Snot Rockets. All right let’s go over this again. The kid holds up the plastic nose. Presses the button in the right nostril and a green-candy jelly-like substance shoots out of the left nostril. Grosses everyone out. What’s that, Wang? No, we got a company in Singapore making the snots. It’s suppose to be non-toxic and edible. The last test shipment they sent us tasted like horse shit and burned my tongue. (In walks a skinny, greasy looking fellow carrying a portfolio) Ira: Hi, Norman. I’ll be right with you. Ok, so do understand now, Wang? Yes, I got the slippers you sent. Thank you very much. Ok, Ok, right, pink nose, less propulsion, three warts. Oh, and we need it by Friday. (Hangs up) Hey, Norman. What ‘cha got for me? Norman: I brought the finish on the Crack Babies bubble gum card. (Norman hands Ira an illustration board ). Ira: Great, great. Let’s take a look. Not bad. Nice skin texture on the forehead. I like the dead gerbil, nice touch. Put a party hat on the gerbil’s head. Did John tell you to put a skin rash on this kid? Norman: No. That was my idea. Ira: Ok. Get rid of the rash. And make the kid look more retarded. Maybe some drool. He should be more slack-jawed too. Braces on his upper and lower incisors. And give him seven , nine, thirteen pimples. Norman. Aw, man. That’s too many. Ira: Too bad. The kid you drew doesn’t look geeky enough. Norman: I’ll do six pimples. Ira: Not enough. Besides, six is an even number. You can’t do an even number. Norman: Why not? Ira: Even numbers aren’t funny. Norman: Says who? Ira: Look, I’m not going to argue with you. Norman: Who says even numbers aren’t funny? Ira: I think Jesus said it right before he died. (A voice is heard over the intercom: Frank Renolds to the reception desk. Jake with Hairy Eyeballs is here.) Norman: Look, I’ve been working on this piece for two weeks. You’ve already changed it twenty times. Ira: Twenty one times. Norman: What? Ira: You should have said twenty one times. It would have been funnier. Norman: I’ll give you five pimples. Ira: Eleven. Norman: Seven. Ira: Nine. Norman: Anything over five I want ten bucks a pimple. Ira: I’ll give you three bucks a pimple for every pimple over nine. Norman: All right. You’re killing me here, man. (Intercom voice: Hong Kong Rubber Balls on 6) Ira: So what else are you doing these days? Norman: I’m having a show of my landscape paintings in Soho next week. And I got a write up in ArtForum. Ira: That’s nice. (The phone rings) Ira: Ira here. Yeah, hold on a second. Norman, I gotta take this call. I need that finish on Thursday. Oh, and put some snots in there somewhere. (Drop the curtain)
From comicbookgalaxy.com More playful than suicidal, My Little Funny Underworld still reminds me of Tony Millionaire’s Maakies. Most of the punchlines come quick and hard, often out of left field. Sometimes, though, it’s just fart jokes (p. 88). It all works. Kaz’s line is confident and consistent, but he spots blacks well and places objects in a convincing space, giving the reader room to explore the mini-universes he creates with each new strip. There’s over a dozen colour strips that are a visual feast — let’s hope future collections are all-colour. The humour ranges from (literally) potty gags (pp. 7, 27) to existential dadaism (p. 43), all hanging together through a comic sensibility that acts as an unseen docent on a tour of what Kaz thinks is funny. He’s almost always right, and at ten bucks, this is a steal. Grade: 4.5/5 — Alan David Doane
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 …
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).