Thursday, July 24, 2014

NEW!!! Reglar Wiglar #22: The Book of Jobs Part 1

At long friggin' last, Reglar Wiglar #22 has been photocopied, folded, stapled and is ready to be sent out to a mailing box near you. In this issue, I begin recounting my long employment history in "The Book of Jobs Part 1". Also included: "The History of Music," "Forgotten American Music Masters," "Hungover Poetry," "Donald Trump Versus Metallica," "The Top Ten Numbers of All Time" and a brand new Cassetty the Cassette Pet comic: "Living in the 80s."

Get your very own copy by clicking the link below, or order through the RoosterCow Press Etsy Store!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Comics Review on Sound on Site

c-Buddy-DumpBUDDY BUYS A DUMP
The Complete Buddy Bradley Stories from Hate Comics Volume III
Peter Bagge [Fantagraphics]

So Buddy buys a dump, eh? What else would you except from an all-grown-up slacker like Buddy Bradley? You didn't think he was ever going to get a real job, did you? Best case scenario, he might have been coaxed (read: nagged) by his wife Lisa into taking a few classes at DeVry or ITT, but that would have required a serious tweaking of the man's worldview. Buddy Buys a Dump is the latest collection (the first in seven years!) of the complete Buddy Bradley stories that were compiled in issues 1-9 of Hate Annual published from 2001 to 2011. This collection also features a new, previously unpublished tale of Bradley family woe.

I must admit, I had lost track of Buddy and Hate in recent years and could only assume that Mr. Bagge was still cranking away at his drawing table, devising new ways to make Buddy suffer. (He has in fact been cranking away doing work for DC, Marvel and writing or Reason magazine). My own history with the Hate series goes back to about '92 or '93 when, after spacing off my el stop on my way home from the Loop in Chicago, I ended up at a shop called Haley’s Comics located underneath the Paulina Street el station. Having never cared much for comics of the superhero variety, I went in nevertheless and the very different style of the Alternative Comics section, and Hate comics in particular, caught my eye immediately. The series was already up to about eight or nine issues at that point, so I bought every one and was soon a devotee, eventually even sporting an "I scream, you scream, we all scream for heroin!" t-shirt—a drug I would otherwise not endorse in this fashion.

I’ve grown up and so has Buddy. Buddy’s life paralleled my own in some sense (crap jobs, weirdo roommates), but essentially I am not, nor will I ever be like Buddy Bradley. I certainly know the type, however, and therein lies the appeal of Buddy as a main character. The revolving cast of nut jobs that Buddy attracts to himself, and is attracted by, doesn't hurt the appeal or comic potential either, nor does the sharp wit, great dialogue and Bagge’s unique style of rubbery, quavering limbs, popping eyes and massive pie holes shouting and swearing off the pages. Bagge developed this unique style many decades ago and he hasn't toned it down much since his days drawing characters like Studs Kirby, Girly-Girl and Zoove Groover. Those squiggly lines of anger shooting from brows and spit firing off from teeth-bared mouths are his trademark.

There are eleven chapters in the continuing Bradley saga contained here. They involve the buying of a dump, of course, Buddy eventually going into business with Jay (again), the raising of Buddy and Lisa's baby, Harold, with appearances by Buddy's wing-nut brother, Butch, and other assorted neighborhood ne'er-do-wells. Even Buddy's old high school chum Stinky makes a cameo. (Spoiler alert: he's still a corpse.) Our hero does seem to have mellowed a bit with age. He doesn’t fly into a rage as easily as his younger self, Lisa seems to have a slightly firmer grip on him and although he does have his shocked and awed moments of disbelief (complete with the bulging eyes, gaping mouth and wavering lines of exclamation), life has kicked some of the old fight out of Buddy, but that was just the fight to be lazy and shiftless so that's not such a bad thing. The new and final story, "Fuck It" created in 2013, sees the Hate storyline come full-circle as Buddy returns to Seattle, with kid in tow, on his way to meet Lisa who has been minding her sickly and aging family's affairs. Who knows what new life and old characters await them there.

2015 will mark the 25th Anniversary of Hate and the Bradley family was introduced to the world at least five years before that in Bagge's first series Neat Stuff. We've seen moves before, and deaths and breakups and births and we can only hope that Bagge has the time and inclination to keep humoring us aging Gen Xers by giving us a new taste of Hate every a yearChris Auman

This review was originally published on Sound on Site.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Cookbook Review on Green Action News

This review was written for Green Action News.

This Ain't No Picnic: Your Punk Rock Vegan Cookbook
Microcosm Publishing

Published by Microcosm Publishing, purveyor of DIY publications from health guides to left-leaning political zines, This Ain’t No Picnic is “Your Punk Rock Vegan Cookbook.” With pierced tongue in cheek, this awesome looking recipe compendium is presented in a humorous, self-effacing style that pokes fun at all things punk while simultaneously teaching you how to cook vegan-style. It's not about dogma or even dog collars, it's about making delicious vegan food on the cheap with limited access to things like stoves, ovens, freezers, fridges and other appliances generally associated with cooking.

The book features 80 new vegan recipes from the Punk Rock Vegan Chef, Joshua Ploeg and is broken down into eight sections that are accompanied by short introductions from various punk rockers, as well as recommended song lists of punk classics. Ploeg is a traveling vegan chef who has cooked for a long list of musicians and bands over his career on the fringes of the culinary world. He also has a lifelong connection to punk rock. He has authored dozens of zines and DIY cookbooks and has, in his words, lived in squalor for the past fifteen years. Photographers, Vice Cooler and Dalton Blanco, provide great full-color photos and, despite the intentionally chaotic and cluttered layout of the book, it looks exciting, fresh as a raw rutabaga and easy to use.

This book contains recipes for dishes that can be made in the tour van, like “Dashboard Jerky” for example, where marinated strips of beets, carrots and tofu or tempeh can be placed on a piece of foil so they can dehydrate on the hot dash. Or s'mores that can be roasted over the flame of a cigarette lighter. There are recipes for food that was "fished" from the dumpster, and tips on how to slice and dice vegetables with nothing more than a credit card a la the Credit Card Sandwich tutorial. (Don't use your card for any other purpose.)

While it may increase your enjoyment of the book if you are familiar with the bands and songs that have inspired some of these recipes, and it may be helpful to be a vegan, neither is a prerequisite. Yes, you don’t have to live in a communal punk rock house to cook like a crusty vegan. You don’t even have to listen to punk rock to make these dishes, (you should though), but it may just inspire you to dig into the vast annals of punk rock's past and explore the health benefits and cruelty-free aspects of a vegan dietChris Auman