St. Louis Missouri doesn’t really have a scene that centers on making zine comix. People here make zine comix as a means of fulfilling some other interest. Perhaps they are hoping to become animators, work for a big name comic book company, or are producing fan fiction. As a result, there’s a lot of indy comic production, but no real love for the small batch handmade experimental craft of cartooning. There are exceptions, but we’re like ships passing in the night … trying to connect to the wider scene online or taking road trips to Chicago unaware of each other’s presence here in St. Louis. In this post, I’m going to explore some of my finds in literal and figurative cardboard boxes that I’ve found in comic book shops or have accidentally bumped into online only to find out that we’ve both existed in this red brick town.
Paul Kortjohn | Various Titles
I met Paul on Instagram, and he lives in England; however, as we were exchanging addresses to make a trade, he responds, “Oh damn, you’re from my home town.” Paul sent me 3 comics. One called The Badass Ballad of Zander Chrome claims to be a comic Paul compiled from something he found in a cardboard box in a St. Louis thrift store. It’s awesome. Zander Chrome is your typical Florida Man who has a giant sword shaped like a penis, and a literal giant penis shaped like a… well, it’s censored so I guess we’ll just have to use our imaginations? He fights bad guys, ladies dig him, and he’s got the shortest cutoff shorts known to man. This is definitely material I could see being created during high school study hall in a binder, and it has somehow survived confiscation (or has found it’s way out of confiscation?) and into our hands thanks to Paul.
Tales for the Toilet is an anthology with various comics created by Paul and others. The content reminds me of the low brow humor I’d find in another St. Louis comix zine publication called Shitty River Comics (named after the giant drainage ditch that’s officially called “The River Des Peres”). I love zine comics that are basically a compilation of scrapbook stuff, and this has that feel; however, it ends with an absolute knock-it-out-of-the-park piece called “The Finger in the Fryer.” A fry cook discovers a finger in her fryer that leads to much worse horrors. I’ve got to see this to be continued … it’s killing me!
Finally, Blood & Chrome, a split zine of sorts between mostly Adam Yeater and what Paul has compiled by the apparent creator of Zander Chrome, Hetcher Flanks. It’s amazing that Paul keeps tracking down more of his material. In this comic, Adam’s Blood Desert roaming zombie killing dude has run-ins with Zander Chrome as well as Johan Pederson’s Nash character. There are some superb zombie battles. This is followed by a Zander Chrome story called “Zander Chrome versus the 666,666,666 She-Devils from Hell.” It really had me going for a minute. Favorite one-liner, “I’m gonna rip through you like Taco-Bell!” I need to be listening to some Carpenter Brut or something while reading Zander Chrome comix.
Check out Paul Kortjohn on Instagram @pkortjohncomix
Adam Yeater comix are available here: onelastday.storenvy.com/
Johan Pederson indy comics are available here: Johan Pederson
Magzdilla | Ratchethart Forest #3
As is typical of local zines here, there’s no name of the creator anywhere in the thing (but a hefty “thanks to these people” section). But I recognized the style (gray washed and cut out panels with organic perspectives and an intuitive sense of anatomy) based on some other comics I’ve picked up in the past by Magz that I liked called Shakti Fever. I found this one in a cardboard box at Apotheosis and bought it. It’s the 3’rd issue. It’s a trippy story about an enchanted forest full of imprisoned animals now potentially freed (or endangered?) by a nuclear waste source of some kind. I wish I had more of the story. And maybe Mags has more to spare? If interested, maybe inquire through twitter: @Magzdilla2early or Instagram @magzdilla
Criz | MonsterQuest Season 1, Part 1
Another digest comic with only the name “Criz” to go by. There’s even a deleted Instagram account to follow (oh well). It’s numbered “15/40” and was priced at “Free”. It’s 28 pages interior with cardstock cover. Not bad for free! It’s basically a documentary of the documentary “Monsterquest” which aired on the History Channel. I love the midwestern fascination with mythical creatures like BigFoot, and “Criz” does a great job of drawing some hilarious pictures of the people who claimed to spot big foot without making fun of them. He just straight up draws them as sincerely as possible with their little quotes like “It freaked me out! Freaked me right out!” Something about the humor and the Bigfoot story reminded me of Springfield Missouri-based Chad Woody. I wish Criz hadn’t deleted his Instagram account. I’d love to get more of his comics, especially if they’re free.
Everett Gee | Knuckleheads #1
This is a very crude comic about a guy named Rolow and his girlfriend Hester (who appears to be some kind of “pubic hair-proud” distant cousin to Spongebob) as well as supporting characters Panko the rat and local bum Toofpic. A typical one page gag will attempt to make you gag as you observe, for example, Hester kick Rolow in the mouth for saying she smelled like doodoo, only to realize she had stepped in dog shit earlier in the day, and now it’s in Rolow’s mouth. A lot of drugs are taken. There’s also a commercial for Bologna Beer. Despite its crass contents, it’s incredibly well made, the lettering is crisp and easy to follow, and the drawing is effortlessly polished. More info (and newer comics!) from Everett on http://www.theflufactory.blogspot.com
That’s all for now from the Lou and beyond. I hope at some point I can find more things out here in the wild to make a “Comix from the Lou” part 2.