Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Basil Wolverton: Creeping Death From Neptune

This is the first in a two-volume retrospective—collecting full comics stories, unpublished art, ads, etc.—and biography of the famous Mad cartoonist.

This is the first of two volumes reprinting copious amounts of comics stories and recounting the career of cartoonist Basil Wolverton. Based on his correspondence and journals, the biographical portion of the books follow Wolverton from childhood to adult day-to-day life as freelance cartoonist, itinerant handyman, persistent contest enterer, and local pastor of the Radio Church of God. Wolverton lived and worked in the Pacific Northwest, unique among the first generation of comic book pioneers. In the precious period before the industry calcified into a commercial institution, Wolverton was free to work under the radar to explore in detail his weird tales of the future. The book collects all of Wolverton’s non-humorous comic stories and a substantial selection of his humorous comics, alongside dozens of pages of unpublished artwork, unsold features, and never-before-seen correspondence, including rejection letters! Full-color

Buy the book here: Creeping Death From Neptune


Connie Schmidt said...

Its too bad that old Basil is still not alive. Maybe his son Monte , who illustrates in a similar fashion could help oblige.

We need an illustrated "THE KLINGON FROM URANUS" for Dave Pack.

Anonymous said...

I heard somewhere that HWA saw Basil's work and asked him to illustrate the WCG publications. Did HWA read comic books, maybe Mad Magazine, haha. To me it shows he was somewhat open minded and multi dimensional.......so why oh why did he have such a restrictive close minded religion? What a hypocrite, what a jerk.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone, in their WCG days, perceive, or just assume, that Wolverton's comic book days were BEHIND him now that he was involved in doing "God's Work?"

I don't believe that anything was ever actually SAID either way, but comics were one of those things that we "obviously" shouldn't do, now that we should concentrate on the Bible and church literature.

As someone who was forced to quit a job (and thus really screw up my life for a few years) by a minister who wanted to exert his authority over me ANY way he could find, I just chafe at the idea that Wolverton continued to ply his trade, and could be a church "official," at the same time.


James said...

It was Mad Magazine when I was a child, with its cover of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice that caused my mother to confiscate all my material hence forward. That ended my education for at least awhile!

Connie Schmidt said...

We still get a MAD MAGAZINE subscription here at our house. The kids love it and so does my husband!

Byker Bob said...

I had never seen any Basil Wolverton cartoons until my parents received their copies of HWA's prophecy booklets in the mid '50s. The comic books I had been familiar with were extensions of the popular daily and Sunday "funny" pages of the newspaper. That is to say, Basil Wolverton was not my cartoonist, he was one of my parents' cartoonists. Since they were the ones who had been attracted to Armstrongism, it is totally appropriate that Basil Wolverton, or some other heroes of pop culture from the 1940s would have been part of the package.

In a way, church members such as Basil Wolverton and Floyd Lochner (steeple chase winner) added authenticity to the WCG in much the same way as John Travolta, Anne Archer, and Tom Cruise bring an aura of authenticity to the church of Scientology.

In the early 1960s, some farmer had made my parents aware that "Mr. Armstrong said" that children ought not read the ready made daydreams in comic books, and all of our comics were taken away. I tried to convince them as a teenager that we should be able to read Mad Magazine because Basil Wolverton contributed, but somehow they never bought into that reasoning. Something about what people had done before they were converted. It was a curious situation in which we were proud of one of our own celebrities, but could not participate in the majority of his work. No matter, I made up for it in spades the minute I could once again make personal decisions for myself. And in the meantime, we could still run like Mr. Lochner. According to Mr. Meredith, running and hard calesthenics would keep us from "turning queer" in the parlance of that era.

There never were any Basil Wolverton revivals, until people like Robert Crumb began citing him as one of his profoundest influences when Crumb's own artwork suddenly burst into the counter-culture through "Keep on Truckin'" and on "hippie" album coves like Big Brother's "Cheap Thrills." Personally, I thought I saw some Wolverton influence on Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's T-shirt art, another thing of which I was unsuccessful in convincing my parents. They warned me that if I ordered such ridiculous shirts, my name and address might be sold to pornographers. Stupid ideas like that are why I have very little tolerance for those who continue to believe in and base their lives upon conspracy theories. I feel that it's one of the attitudes or character traits that leaves people receptive to Armstrongism, in the first place.

Anyhoo, it is what it is. Everything's everything. Now, things which were unknown are in the open and can be appreciated. The aspects of Basil Wolverton which were once repressed as pre-conversion, carnal, and verboten are now once again readily available. It is awesome to be able to appreciate art and culture which had been wrongfully censored from us and suppressed. Yet another reason why Armstrongism sucked!


Anonymous said...

Why should I care? Let's do something more important like watch the grass grow. It would be nice to have a blog with brains.