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The horror…the horror…

Most folk I know don’t know that my first foray into Comic Book work, which I wish I had been able to do more of but somehow never did, (insert discovery of marijuana here. Yes, I realize it had been discovered several years before by musicians somewhere outside of Tuscon but this information had just reached Missouri earlier in 1991.) The work was this adaptation of Leatherface, Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, the comic book written by Mort Castle, up above there. We were fabulously recruited into the experience by none other than Daniel Madsen, the genius wunderkind from Northstar Comics, rock band manager, youthfull Steven Seagal impersonator (ret) and controversially uncredited inventor of the rotary banana peel laminator. Not only was it my first comic book work, but it was fully painted comic book pages. I had been an airbrush tee shirt artist and somehow I was “cajoled” into painting these piles of art pages with only a rudimentary knowledge of frisket and painting on paper, not knowing that vellum bristol paper was a nachtmare when dealing with sticky film. The pages were packed full of gore from top to bottom. Such craziness. Thanks, Leatherface.

It was fun as shit, though, and the money from the advance, some $3,000.00 was at the time the largest check for work that I had ever received and I promptly used it to move out of my parents’ house and straight into a relationship that would end in divorce. Thanks, Leatherface.

The original art pages of the three issues that I made are mostly lost to history and the pre-internet world. Some of the choice pages were sold to a comic art afficianado, the legendary Bob Monko, and the rest were basically stolen and discarded by a now defunct art gallery in Denver. The last I heard, the proprietor had set them on the sidewalk in a box labelled $1 each or something. If you have some…you have some. I wish I had some. I have one piece of cover art, I believe. Maybe two.

Side story: one day, many years ago, some month after these issues were issued, I was by happenstance in a comic book emporium in suburban Ballwin, Missouri, where I overheard the proprietor talking to a customer about the state of comic art at the time. Out of the effing blue he said that one example of artists who could be doing better for themselves was that fellow Guy Burwell who showed talent but who was wasting his life making gore filled horror art. !!! Now, I was completely unknown, totally invisible, and had never been to a comic book convention, such as they were at the time. I could never have been recognized by facial recognition eyeballs of the day. This condition mostly persists to this day. Needless to say, I quietly left the store, leaving the fellow to his opinion. NOT. I was afforded the opportunity to step quietly to the counter and say “I AM that Guy Burwell, and you are a slovenly, dim witted slacktard who something something something knows nothing about the idea of getting $3000.00 and moving out of your parents’ house and into the loving arms of a beautiful girl who will love you forever and also naked sometimes!” I paraphrase, of course. It was satisfying and surreal. I don’t know how that opportunity was afforded me to be mentioned directly and be able to respond directly in person and such. It was so weird. Thanks, Leatherface!

ANYway. It was fun and a few months ago I was prompted by some signal from Mars to look for any links to this work online and was offered this same link from above that Mort Castle has posted, and read the mostly kind remarks. Fairly rewarding. I do wish I had taken more opportunities to be a Comic Book Guy but I didn’t really have any friends who were in that interest pod out there in Unincorporated West St. Louis County in the days of The Collectors’ Club Newsletter Group (look them up here on FB), a paper internet of their own who utilized the Postal System for updates and uploads and comments sections that only took eight months to a year or more to reload its twenty four pages of information. It was a ‘zine, you see. Subscribed to and sent through the mail. There was no internet. There were no computers. You had to wait for things and look forward to things back then. You have to find OTHER THINGS TO DO WITH YOURSELF back then. Ask your grandfather about it. He’ll tell you to stop bothering him and go out and play, not knowing that that isn’t possible without being tear gassed for one reason or another.

So anyway. Thanks, Leatherface. You were my first.

-Crabby Burwell, Portland, OR 2017