HST & Friends
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Biographies+ E. Jean Carroll
+ William McKeen
+ P. Paul Perry
+ Peter O. Whitmer
Adventures On The Fringe By R.L. Crabb
Last updated Winter 2006
UPDATE: Awesome cover from #3 which is part one to #4. The pic is rather large, but I wanted to preserver the colour. It is totally hilarious. I actually now have 1-4 and I don't know if there were any made after 4. Keep an eye out on eBay or your local comic book store for them.
It was pure chance that I discovered this comic from Fantagraphics (which also did a limited re-release of Ralph Steadman's America. Certainly HST has appeared in more comic books than most contemporary authors. Comic books themselves are radical in nature, from the early decades when they were considered pulp and degenerate, to the fifties and sixties, where societal ills were attributed to them. In the late sixties, underground comics and artists challenged the status quo and small presses such as Kitchen Sink produced books that were certainly not mainstream. Mostly they dealt with sex, drugs and topics of the day, while mainstream presses such as DC and Marvel were still rolling out Batman, Superman, Thor and the Fantastic Five. These comics were definitely safe and "comics code approved" while the underground comix certainly weren't.
Titles like Love and Rockets in the Eighties and DC Vertigo titles in the Nineties keep up the tradition. Often, these titles touch upon gothic, horror and other issues that most other print houses and artists will not touch. The New Comics Anthology is an excellent compendium of alternative artists and comics. I highly recommend it.
Anyhow, on to this copy of Adventures on the Fringe. It's a black and white comic with a nice portrait of the Mitchell Brothers and others who went on the Woody Creek Expedition. You may have glimpsed them briefly in the second photo section of Hunter by E. Jean Carroll. The story starts out with the first time Crabb met HST at the O'Farrell. There was a party for Spain Rodriguez and Bob Callahan. HST appears out of nowhere and demands the last poster which was being reserved for the artist. This is a pretty cool scene. Crabb encounters HST again after meeting a drunk man who told him that he wanted to have sex with HST. ROFL.
Crabb catches up with HST again about five years later, during the infamous lifestyle bust. The Mitchells organize caravans and drive out to Woody Creek, strippers, buffalo head, signs, Crabb and all. Considering all the things I've read about this time in HST's life, I'd have to say Crabb's account is probably the most truthful and accurate. Crabb includes insights on how to talk to the media, what kind of sign board to use (matte - glossy board or paper will be obscured in camera lights) and how to handle locals. And Crabb meets lots of locals, including one woman who is convinced that the fact that Gail Palmer-Slater was a former porn star shouldn't matter, because "she's a sister".
I've only ever seen this item for sale once, and you can bet I scooped it up fast :-) Crabb has a real talent for drawing and storytelling, and this would make a cool addition to any HST collection.
You can visit his website as well - www.rlcrabb.com.