This unpublished, pseudo-memoir comic, created during the summer of 1984, was largely based on articles and advertisements found in pre-WWII era issues of Life, Collier’s, Good Housekeeping, Ladie’s Home Journal, Popular Mechanics and others (a trove of which I had acquired the previous year). All of the drawing was accomplished with two technical ink pens, a technique that involved no penciling or pre-planning, no rough layout of any sort, each page was drawn right onto large 11 x 14 sheets of sketchbook paper, starting at the top left, working my way down to bottom right. The text was improvised simultaneously, written, literally, as it was lettered onto the paper (my spelling suffered noticeably from this approach). The style of the scrapbook imagery is greatly influenced by the old news and advertising photographs I was absorbing, many being direct line translations of such, feeding it all into the mock life and sensibilities of my character, Bubba Fist.
This was my attempt at writing far out of my social or political reach, focusing on the fascinating generation of American life I had recently become so familiar with, by way of the old magazine collection. The narrative eschews a devoutly patriotic, hard-boiled, male American ethos, circa the early 1940’s, one so at odds with my own twenty year-old feelings at the time of the Reagan Presidency that its sense of restraint amazes me. There is not an ounce of my adopted “punk rock” guise evident, not even in the odd parting letter from Mr. Fist, declaring his run at the highest office.
Perhaps I saw something in these older days, something that greatly appealed to me, a climate so different from what was going on in the country at the time, a nostalgia for a world I had never known. I also saw Fist as the real thing, Reagan never seeming more than an actor.
To view all twenty one pages of the comic in a slideshow, click here. You can also peruse them individually.