Back around 1993 in Toronto, my friend and sometimes roommate Jonathan and I got some copies of our Zine Nisrigion printed and rushed over to – i think it was the Trinity-St Paul’s church – to attend a Zine fair.
It was a good show though the place was really stuffy, humid, typical for a winter zine fair. Later we would both come down with the monster of all lung infections!
But at the time this was not a worry, and as i wandered between the tables I came across Chester Brown smiling in that typically misleading angelic way he does. Alongside his Yummy Fur comics, there was a Zine with a beset Charlie Brown on it, titled
‘You’re short, bald and ugly Charlie Brown’.
When i asked him about it he smiled and said it was something he was selling for a ‘friend’ or something like that, dodging taking credit. I was intrigued all the more, as I’m sure he had intended.
Flipping though at first i thought it’s just a reprint of old Peanuts comics, but on closer inspection i realized the text had been altered. I grabbed a copy, and later after the show Jonathan and I retired to our apt on Baldwin st. to poor over our loot. It was soon clear the little Plunder Comic Zine was the star of the show.
The sacrilegious zine was a little bit brilliant, with one extended portion called ‘Billiards‘ exceptionally inspired. The other parts are silly fun – pretty juvenile really in their humor, but enjoyably so. ‘Billiards‘ is far more surreal and inspired, with a full story arc and character development. The whole thing makes for a delightful satire of the source material.
After consulting some comics in my collection, matching the lettering, I confirmed for myself the suspicion it was the work of Chester himself – behind ‘Billiards‘ – along with Joe Matt, and Seth. A well know cohort seen playing cards at cafes around town including the one under our apt.
We revelled in their send up of the Schulz characters and loved the subterfugal nature of the book, credited to Dr. Casey “Sparky” & Finnegan. A tip of the hat to Mr Dressup. It was all very delicious, helped a bit by knowing the guys as local comics artists that i admired, and ran into on the street from time to time. Played penny poker with Joe once, chatted with Chester a few times at the copy shop. Jonathan was also a huge Joe Matt fan and would later hang out with him at the Jet Fuel Coffee sometimes. It’s sometimes all the more inspiring to have the everyday knowledge of the source of thing to appreciate it. In their autobiographical work the guys regularly demonstrated a courage you would not necessarily assume was there from their persons. Not to belittle them, they are just very normal and even soft spoken in person. It’s in that way they were great roll models for Jonathan and I when we contemplated putting out our own work.
Laughing together over the Zine that night Jonathan revealed he was an encyclopedic fan of Peanuts, and it was that conversation that seeded my current graphic novel project Dream Life.
The Zine has become an underground comix legend, seldom seen but often talked about. Though not often till recently on the net. Dr. Casey “Sparky” & Finnegan’s careers have matured a great deal since 1993, and ironically in one case a loving appreciation for Peanuts has taken one to the Heights of that realm; Seth now masterminds the packaging of The Complete Peanuts.
The Zine was recently featured on the TCJ blog by Shaenon Garrity, bringing it back into broader public consciousness. That was followed by a post including a letter of admission and a story of the origins of the plunder comic send up by self declared instigator Joe Matt here.
“There was a night, maybe sometime around 1993, when I was working on an issue of my comic book, “Peepshow” and I was using some xeroxes of PEANUTS strips from the collection, “You Can Do It, Charlie Brown” as blotter-paper. (Blotter-paper meaning: any clean paper that was handy and could be folded in half and used to rest my hand on while inking in order to protect the original art underneath.)
Anyway, there came a moment when I was using white-out and to remove some excess white-out from my brush, I wiped it on the blotter paper beneath my hand. And that’s how I came to idly white-out the words balloons on a few PEANUTS strips.
Once I saw the balloons whited-out and forgot what they originally said, I began filling them with the first, perverted thing my brain thought they might say…”
It’s a great short account, go check out the rest. And so as is the nature of the internets, it was only a matter of time till a digital copy of the notorious plunder comic surfaced…
Yep. You too can now enjoy ‘Billiards‘ and all the rest. Forces of Geek’s Stefan Blitz posted a link to a PDF of the zine [cross-posted to the Bleeding Cool forums here which are much less cluttered than the blog site] along with his own short reminisce of his first encounter with it. The PDF seems to be derived from a miss-titled torrent on pirate bay, if a CBR copy is more to your liking.
I hope it serves to inspire many more creators now, & ideally doesn’t get anyone in trouble with the Schultz foundation. 😉