Been busy Spring cleaning just lately and managed to reach as far as the attic. (Amazing how much stuff you can accumulate in just a year!). As I rummaged further and deeper beyond the dust and the cobwebs I came across a stash of old comic books from my childhood (I was big into comics, books and boardgames – 70s kid y’see…long before computers, screens and the good old ‘interweb’!)
The comics distracted me – they are just old, crumbling, faded yellow pages now…but still chock full of day-glo memories. So I sat and read for a bit. And then I scanned in a few covers in to stick on the hard drive for memories’ sake. And I thought I’d share one title in particular on the blog – as it was pretty much a rare curiosity back then and I wondered if anyone at all out there might have heard of it. I absolutely loved this one – in fact I went totally nuts for it! It was called PLOP!
PLOP! was an American comic – relatively hard to get in the UK (where I grew up) but occasionally imported. It billed itself as “The Magazine Of Weird Humor” (yes, I know, that’s how Americans spell it!!). Each issue was ‘introduced’ by three spooky characters – Cain, Abel and Eve (you can see them in the banner pic below) – and I loved its blend of horror with humour (yes, that’s how one should spell it!). Most of all I loved the cover art – from the grotesque figures that were the centrepiece of each cover to the surrounding cartoon doodles that framed each cover. (I spent ages checking out the doodles around the cover – and ages more copying them…I once thought I might be a cartoonist/caricaturist – see earlier blogs!).
Now we are in the 21st century it was easy to find out a wee bit of background detail on PLOP! (Thank you Wikipedia!). Of most interest are the two cover artists, whose work I so admired as a kid. Basil Wolverton did the character you see here on this blog against the pink background (which was my favourite cover of the issues I owned). All the other covers shown on this blog are by Wallace Wood (aka Woody). Woody had the more interesting – and tragic – life (eventually committing suicide when health problems – including the loss of sight in one eye – and a near penniless existence in LA drove him to depression).
It turns out that Woody was the principal artist on the infamous satirical poster ‘The Disneyland Memorial Orgy’ (you’ll have to Wikipedia that one for yourself folks!) produced by The Realist magazine (a kind of underground comic / scandal rag). One further interesting point of note: The Realist was well known for printing conspiracy theories (both satirical and fake and genuine and scandalous). John Lennon helped to fund The Realist (at a time when he had been targeted by the CIA to be “discredited” for his “leftist” views). In an interview with the mag Lennon said: “If anything happens to me…it won’t be an accident.” Makes ya think, huh?!
Anyway, here’s one of my fave PLOP! gags: