Look Here, Read: “Gruesome Charlie in ‘No Erect Penises'” by Jeff Johnson

At the end of January, I posted a “Heads Up” to alert collectors of comic art to the grand opening of the well-stocked Etsy shop of Atlanta-based artist Jess (née Jeff) Jonsin (née Johnson). At that time, I had already purchased page six of a story, “Gruesome Charlie in ‘No Erect Penises,'” that originally appeared in Zero Zero #4 (Fantagraphics, August 1995). In the days that followed, however, I found myself returning several times to Jess’s Etsy shop to examine the other five pages in the story. Each time, I half-expected that one or the other of the pages would be sold, but also sort of hoped they would all still be available for purchase, until finally I talked myself into making an offer on the lot of them. Jess graciously accepted my offer, so now I’m back to share, with Jess’s permission, the complete story scanned from the original art:

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Regarding the title of the story, Jess volunteered the following explanation during a conversation we’ve been having on Etsy:

And I wanted to tell you some things: The story you’ve bought was originally conceived for Blab! Monte [Beauchamp] didn’t think it suited, and I’m sure he was right; I reconfigured it later for Zero Zero. Kim [Thompson] only stipulated that there be “No Erect Penises” which kept me from calling it something appropriate like “Dancing Frogs.” The “Gruesome Charlie” character, or at least the name, has a hypnagogic origin, as does “Voluptuous Dog.” That’s all that comes to mind about that story right now. I do think it’s one of my more relatable efforts, almost in a Peter Bagge storytelling vein.

In addition to his new Etsy shop, Jess also has put together a new 198-page collection of comics that he originally published under the name Jeff Johnson. Here’s Jess’s description of the collection, which bears the anagrammatic title, Sad Brat, Bad Star:

This is a collection of comics originally printed as zines in 1990-91: Filth, Symbiosis, Reality, Communion and The Moon in the Man. Two unfinished works are included; Felicity part one, written by the author’s deceased ex, and seventeen pages of the titular 1995 graphic novel that, had it not been abandoned, intended to deal with the germinal time and place from which the rest of these 200 pages originated. An idiosyncratic design sense stitches the lot together with a loosely cohesive hand, and a smattering of brief notes and introductory essays wander moodily along like an emotionally-unstable tour guide, offering an oddly endearing blend of impertinent trivia, crankish pettifoggery and raw catharsis wrapped in convoluted verbiage. This intensity is what keeps this shattered planet of uncouth continents spinning. You should visit this planet before it dies.


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Sad Brat, Bad Star: Comics 1988-1992 by Jeff Johnson is available via Amazon.com (and is eligible for free shipping if you live in the good ol’ U.S. of A.) as well as via the Amazon service site for self-publishers, CreateSpace.

Although I don’t own a copy of the collection just yet, I do intend to place an order soon… on March 10th, to be exact.


JESS JONSIN LINK ROUNDUP:

Apeiron — an illuminated zine, a video channel, and a library of booklets
The Door — Etsy shop
Jess Jonsin — website
jess jonsin (glutenmob) on Twitter
jessjonsin’s photostream
Sad Brat, Bad Star by Jeff Johnson at Amazon.com & CreateSpace
spambots + ziggurats – blog

Heads Up: Original art for sale by Jess/Jeff Johnson

“[S]kewered on a spit of material need just like everyone else,” artist Jess Johnson is having a sale of art that she produced in the mid-1990s under the name Jeff Johnson. Earlier this morning, I purchased page six of the story, “Gruesome Charlie in ‘No Erect Penises,'” which was published in 1995 in issue #4 of the Fantagraphics anthology series, Zero Zero, and is #23 on The Comics Reporter’s list of “1000 Things to Like about Comics” (posted 23 March 2005). Although I don’t have the page in hand yet, I do have the images from the sale page:

If you think you might like to add a page by “Jeff Johnson” to your own collection of original comic art — at a very reasonable price, I might add — check out Jess’s Etsy shop, “The Door.”