Benefit for Kerry Talbot

Art Donation to Future Fundraiser for Kerry Talbot’s Family

While I was visiting the Virginia Commonwealth University campus, the very genuine sense of loss and grief over the recent passing of VCU faculty member Kerry Talbot moved me to contribute two original pieces of art (which I completed in Santa De Haven‘s studio) to a future fundraiser for Kerry‘s family.

Prior to my evening lecture presentation, one of Kerry‘s students spoke to the audience about him—his passion for teaching, his energy, his devotion to his family, friends, and students, his enthusiasm, his love of drawing monsters and aliens—and it was a moving testimonial.

To say that I wished I’d been able to meet and talk with Kerry during my visit is an understatement.

These scans were provided by Kelly Alder; my condolences and deepest thanks to Kelly, to Tom and Santa De Haven, and to the entire VCU community.

I did a second drawing, too, which I’ll share here later this week.

Once I know when and where the fundraiser auction is happening, I’ll share/post the info here.

Artwork ©2013 Stephen R. Bissette; S.R. Bissette’s Tyrant® is a registered trademark of Stephen R. Bissette.


I accuse the insurance corporations—who after all are the only ones controlling their billings, their systems, their mailings, their cancellations, their revenue streams and distribution of those revenues into their own for-profit ends—of increasing fees and diminishing services annually ad infinitum, to no end save their own profit, regardless of what the law of the land was, is, or will ever be.

I accuse the insurance corporations of contempt for, abuse of, and malice against the nation, its laws, its fortunes, its citizens, and their own customers, via past and current business practices that they now dare “blame” on others—as if anyone but themselves controlled their practices, their interests, their billings, their cancellations, or their actions.

I accuse the insurance corporations of having colluded against America and the American people, and having orchestrated the current laws to serve their own ends and their interminable profiteering on the misery and needs of the American people, rather than see any reformation, alternative, or law exist that might serve the true health and interests of the nation or its citizens.

I accuse the insurance corporations of redirecting revenues fleeced from their “customers”—money extracted in the name and market of “health care,” but serving neither “health” nor “care,” save that of the corporations—into active lobbying against the interests of said “customers”;

into marketing campaigns calculated to serve only their own profiteering and ends;

into collusion and conspiracy against those their policies “serve”;

into ensuring government never can or will execute its allegiance to its citizens instead of its corporate masters.

I accuse the insurance and pharmaceutical powers-that-be of racketeering:

of manipulating and rigging the standing systems, markets, and governments (Federal and State) to serve only their needs and ends, rather than those of the people.

I accuse the whole of the GOP/GOTea and many of the Democratic Party of collusion with insurance corporations and Big Pharma to defeat any possible revision of “health care” in the United States of America to arrive at something, anything remotely affordable, sustainable, and of practical purpose or use to the average American household in 2013.

I accuse the whole of the GOP and many of the Democratic Party of active, relentless, and destructive undermining of any meaningful attempt, in well over half-a-century, to address or redress this ongoing drain on individual and national wealth, revenues, and well-being; and in undermining any attempt in order to line the pockets of themselves, their sponsors, and of the insurance corporations and CEOs.

I accuse the GOP/GOTea in particular, and their media arms and acolytes and venues, of ongoing obfuscation of the core issues;

of ongoing obfuscation and identification of the truly responsible powers and parties;

of ongoing and needless confusion over what powers hold the pursestrings and ability to change all this;

and of demonization and scapegoating of anyone and anything who, or that, could or would address or redress the monthly fleecing of the American people to enrich the insurance powers-that-be, and the daily abandonment of those who suffer without any possibly affordable measure of actual health care in this nation.

I accuse the GOP and the Democratic parties and, now, the GOP/GOTea, of crippling our nation’s ability to do simple business—given the liabilities, obligations, and revenues leveled against any US-based business, large or small, forced to compete with the businesses of other industrialized nations in which a measure of health care is a right of their citizens, and not a burden for either those nation’s businesses or their individual workers or citizens to carry as a means to feeding relentless insurance/pharmaceutical profiteering and racketeering.

I accuse the GOP/GOTea and factions of the Democratic Party of an ideological addiction to privatization and profiteering, to the detriment of hard-working Americans, their families, and their personal and collective abilities to work, to do business, to lead healthy lives, and simply to LIVE. They have willingly and willfully fettered us without redress to a lifelong obligation to feeding the profits of insurance corporations, to no end save our own impoverishment, suffering, and deaths.

This addiction has enslaved every American to either feed privatized “health care” systems dedicated to profit, not “health care,” or to suffer and die, with the cost of that suffering and deaths nonetheless shifted onto those already enslaved to this for-profit system which actively colludes daily against the interests of those it supposedly “serves.”

This is an untenable system, a social and economic experiment we can no longer tolerate, endure, or support.

I accuse the GOP/GOTea and certain Democrats of now escalating their culpability, their insidious redirection of mounting frustration, despair, and ire, to unprecedented levels against our current serving President, all to further their own cause of allowing their corporate masters to further profiteer and racketeer, based upon their ideological addiction to privatizing every waking breath, moment of life, and death of every citizen’s life from womb to grave, and to their collusion with the ravenous insurance fraud banking daily upon our national and individual “health” and misery.

Senator Ron Johnson (R) of Wisconsin, in the weekly GOP radio and Internet address, dares to accuse President Obamaof “phony…fraudulent…grand deception…false promises.”


What of Senator Johnson’s, and his fellow party members’, “phony… fraudulent… grand deception… false promises” of allegiance to the Constitution, to their state and its citizens, to America and the American people?

He dares this, only adding to the evidence of his and his party’s own ongoing contempt for, collusion against, and active subversion of the law, of common sense, and of the well-being of the Republic and the people he and his cronies have sworn to protect and serve.

I accuse Senator Ron Johnson, the entire GOP and GOP/GOTea parties, and every elected and unelected government official—Republican, Democrat, and/or Independent—who have conspired with insurance providers, interests, and medical/pharmaceutical businesses, of open and flagrant criminal activity against America and the American people.

I accuse the GOP/GOTea and much of the Democratic Party of openly and actively conspiring against freeing America and American citizens from womb-to-grave fleecing by business interests dedicated to draining individual, family, collective, and national revenue streams in the name of “health care.”

I accuse!

We have all the evidence we need.

It is abundant, obvious, ever-present, and ceaseless.

It is before our eyes, within our ears, in our daily lives.

I accuse them of all this, and demand rational address, redress, and justice.


- © 2013 Stephen R. Bissette, 11/17/2013

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Finding Fletcher Hanks

Or; How a Mad Magazine Job Interview Opened My Eyes to the Hanks Universe

The very February of 1976 that I was laboring away on my first-ever published comix work while in my second year at Johnson State College in Johnson, Vermont, Fletcher Hanks (December 1, 1887-February, 1976) was found dead, outdoors, on a New York City park bench, in freezing winter temperatures.

That not my egocentric bid for connection with a Golden Age comicbook eccentric whose work is now revered by many, including some of my own Center for Cartoon Studies students and alumni—it’s just a statement of fact. It’s also not something I gave a nanosecond of thought to until this morning as I prepared to post this material.

Most folks “discovered” (i.e., had Fletcher Hanks work placed before their eyes) Fletcher Hanks in the pages of Raw—specifically, Raw #5′s January, 1983 Stardust reprint story, which blew many a mind—while my students can plunge into two essentially complete reprint collections from Fantagraphics Books edited by Raw vet (and, for a few years now, a fellow CCS colleague, who I have in fact worked with and, this summer, studied under at CCS) Paul Karasik.

I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets! (2007) and You Shall Die by Your Own Evil Creation! (2009) put between, uh, four covers what Paul has attempted to ensure is the complete (or damn-near-complete) Fletcher Hanks body of comics work.

Prior to the start of the Hanks resurrection post-Raw archival rescue, precious few folks in or out of comics talked about this most unusual of Golden Age creators.

My first exposure (to the point of this post) was via Jerry DeFuccio, who was essentially cheering me up in the Mad offices during my one and only stab at finding work at Mad. This was in the spring of 1978, and I had just come from an insulting, disastrous interview with editor Joe Orlando at DC Comics in the belly of the Beast. However discumbobulated and disheveled I must have been after that crushing experience, I still had one more scheduled interview to go—at Mad—and lucky me, Jerry De Fuccio was the man who met me there.

Jerry was everything and everyone I needed at that moment: professional, courteous, attentive, funny, and above all, kind. He also personally knew a thing or two about Joe Orlando, which was something likely no other editor in Manhattan at that point in time could have offered me insight on.

After reviewing my portfolio and ascertaining quickly I wasn’t Mad material, Jerry asked where I’d just come from. When I told him, and he asked how that went, and my face betrayed what my voice wouldn’t, Jerry said, “Let me tell you about Joe Orlando…”

Having set me straight and cooled me out (“look, don’t worry, I can see from your work here you’ve a bright future ahead of you, if you stick to it”), Jerry proceeded to give me a tour of the Mad offices, introduce me to a number of good folks, and then asked who my favorite Mad artists were. My reply—”Basil Wolverton, first and foremost, though I love his old science-fiction and horror comics work, too”—prompted the question, “Have you ever heard of Fletcher Hanks?”

Why, no. I hadn’t.

I hadn’t—who had?—and Jerry had nothing to show me, of course, but he rhapsodized a bit about how if I loved Wolverton, I had to see some of Fletcher Hanks‘ work. The name stuck, as the name of one of the characters—Fantomah—and I began a futile search for any scrap of Fletcher Hanks to be found. Nobody had heard of him, it seemed, and a subsequent exchange with a die-hard comics dealer who specialized in Golden Age (introduced to me at a Creation Con by Adam Malin, if memory serves) gave me my first-ever look at a Hanks comicbook story. It was a Fantomah story. But it was signed “Barclay Flagg” I was confused. I couldn’t afford the comicbook, anyway; it was extraordinary at a New York comics con to even be allowed to leave eye-tracks on such precious four-color cargo. When I asked, timidly, about the name on the story not being “Fletcher Hanks,” the dealer replied, “He worked under all kinds of fake names,” the dealer told me, which both intrigued me further even as it confused and complicated things. “What names?” “You know, this one: Barclay Flagg. It’s right there in front of you.” He couldn’t recall the others, and besides, there was a spending customer who wasn’t a dead-broke cartoonist to attend to.

Now we all know the names—”Henry Fletcher“, “Barclay Flagg“, “Bob Jordan“, and “Hank Christy.” Got it.

The second Fletcher Hanks I would ever lay eyes on—and the first I was free to own, read, reread, and share with others—was this Fantomah story, courtesy of none other than Jerry De Fuccio!

And it appeared in this magazine…

I’ve kept this issue of Cartoonist PROFiles since Joe Kubert gifted it to me (he had a small stack of them, since he and his and the Kubert School‘s ‘run’ on Winnie Winkle was the subject of one article inside) the very month it was published. I picked up an extra copy later that year, and gave it to a friend, saying, “you’ve got to read this Fantomah story!” Alas, he was more interested in the Russ Heath interview and Heath/Cary Bates Lone Ranger strip samples. Pressing the point, the reply was something along the lines of, “Why do you like this crazy shit, Bissette?”

I’m currently bagging and boxing up parts of my zine collection for donation to a library collection, and when this turned up, I had to share it with you.

Was this the beginning of the Fletcher Hanks ‘cult’? Well, no, but I’m willing to bet that I wasn’t the first person who counted this as the first Fletcher Hanks reprint they’d savored. If I’d found and posted this material back in 2005, it would have meant something beyond an idle anecdote, perhaps. Perhaps not.

In any case, for the record, here it is…


We Done Went & Et You!

Sketch Editions of We Are Going to Eat You! Sale Ends!

Halloween is over—the final sale window has closed for sketch editions of We Are Going to Eat You!

The “Bare Bones” edition (sans sketch) is still available through the month of November.

Then… well, don’t wait till then.

Sketch art ©2013 Stephen R. Bissette, all rights reserved.

Final Sketches, Out!

Sketch Editions of We Are Going to Eat You! Sales Ends!

Halloween, Midnight—final sale window closes for sketch editions of We Are Going to Eat You!

It all ends as ends Halloween

Sketch art ©2013 Stephen R. Bissette, all rights reserved.