1998: Blue Loco

Blue Loco (1998) #1 by Mark Landman

Heh heh.

But note the name “Disappearing Inc.” as the company name — after being sold one final time, that was apparently the new name of Kitchen Sink Inc.

Anyway, Landman was a pioneer in creating computer-assisted comics, and by this point, things have gotten very computerey indeed. His Fetal Elvis character looks slicker than ever.

The design of these pages, though. It’s a “more is more” thing. Sure, page numbers in a bat shape. Fine. The name of the book at the top. OK. Two Kitchen Sink logos on every page? C’mon. I guess it’s a case of “I’ve got all a page template and I’m gonna use it”. Since it doesn’t take more work to include all these elements than no elements, why not put use it all?

I have to say that I prefer his more traditional-looking comics. I assume that these were also made on a computer, but more with Photoshop and less with 3D modelling software? I’m guessing.

Landman’s sense of humour is amazing — he piles on the silly and the absurd, but grounds it all in really quite gruesome stuff… and it works great. (If you can stand all the viscera, that is — I’m not snapping the more gruesome pages here.)

I mean… this is what I call humour. I am amazed.

Some of the pieces are almost abstract, because it’s just hard to tell what’s supposed to be going on. This is a Popeye/Bluto thing, I think, but… uhm… what?

Landman helpfully lists all the stuff he’s used to create these comics. He’s using a Silicon Graphics workstation, so he was either loaded or worked for an animation company, I guess? But he’s using Alias PowerAnimator software to do the 3D modelling, it seems. I’ve never heard of that program, but perhaps it was an SGI-only thing?

This book was published in Kitchen Sink’s final year, and the Comics Journal interviewed everybody who’d worked for them in 1998 (apparently) and asked whether they got paid or not.

The Comics Journal #213, page 20:

In April, less than four months after Denis Kitchen håd been fired
frornhis own company , Kitchen Sink creators and creditors received
a letter from Kitchen Sink Chief Financial Offcer Donald Todrim
informing them that they could expect no further royalties, that there
were “no remainingassets to liquidate … only the remaining bills that
cannot be paid.” A couple of weeks later, they received another
letter, this time from Kitchen himself, offering to act as an agent for
KSP to sell to creators film negatives of their Kitchen Sink Work.
Even creators who were owed royalties were asked to pay KSP fot
the right to take possession ofthe film oftheir work (See main story
for asompiete account)
_Sincezthis not the •first time KSP had ciashed — the
company’s 1997 transition from the Ocean group Of investors to
Disappearing Inc. had lef behind more than $2 million in unpaid
debts — mosc printers required payment in advance from KSP thus
limiting the number ofprinters victimized by the company’s current
collapse. Oneexception Was Norma Editorial,ä Spanish publishå
Todrin declined to pay the ktaffer overtime to complete the final
•accounting for royalties. Her computer, which was reportedly
incompatible with other computers in the KS? offices, was discon-
Tlie CbiniåJoiimal contacted as many KSP Creators as itcould and
asked them if they were stiffed and, ifso, for how much. We asked
if they planned to take Kitchen up on his offer to sell them the film
negatives oftheir KSP work. Then we asked them to getin touch
With their feelings.

Here’s Landman’s response. The Comics Journal #213, page 22:

No accounting sinceOctober ofl 998. Not sure how much he is owed, but
“it’s more than enough to buy a cigar and not enough for a Maserati.”
Has his original art so will only buy film if it is cheaper than it would cost
to produce new film.
Distressed because company folded just as it was promoting his Blue I_Dto.
Said he didn ‘t expect to makemoney;just wanted people toseeit. “For the most
part working in alternative comics isjust one small step above vanity publishing.
That’s the uuth ofthe matter, ” Now having trouble even finding copies ofhis
own book. Was told by KSP Sales Manager Robert Grover that back issues
remained with VSP/KSWTrue Confections, but True Confections said they
had none.
Spends a minimum ofa week on a page. Put a year and a half of work into
Blue bco. Not getting paid royalties is no woru than he expected. “I’ll always
be grateful to Denis for publishing Blue a difficult time. But is uncle
Denis truly your uncle? No publisher is.”
“Film sales is just another way to make some money for Uncle Denis.”
“Denis has a habit ofgoingfor the brass ring but this time he fell offthe dang
horse. ”
Suggested corporate name of Cornhole Inc. for future endeavors.

I’ve been unable to find any reviews of this book.

This is the two hundred and eighth post in the Entire Kitchen Sink blog series.

One thought on “1998: Blue Loco”

  1. Wow, this is a blast from the past, thanks! A few things-

    Page design, yup, it looks clunky now, but it was based on the old 1960’s DC page template that I grew up reading, crazy old Mort Weisinger era stuff. Some things work, and in retrospect some don’t.

    Most of my strips were either Photoshop (Fetal Elvis) or Freehand, an Illustrator-like program that is sadly gone now (Dr. McG). The 3D stuff was done in Alias, which is now known as Maya.

    I worked full time as a fireman, and did regular illustration and comix on the side, the SGI computer was acquired by saving very dime for well over a year and also selling all of my large and rather nice collection of Silver Age original art. Kinda wish I could re-do that one…

    The Popeye/Bluto thing, yeah, basically a henpecked husband gets kicked out to do yard work killing the ants his hectoring wife dislikes. While killing the small anthill, the big alpha ant suddenly shows up and beats him soundly. At the last minute the Popeye figure whispers a suggestion, and at the end we see the Olive Oyl-wife wrapped up in a web while the big Bluto ant and the Popeye figure enjoy smoking a big bowl of spinach. Completely logical, right?

    Feel bad still all these years later about the way my quotes in TCJ came across, as they appear much more negative towards Denis than intended. The Cornhole comment was for the new owner, not Mr. Kitchen. I wouldn’t have had the chance to do any of this without his support and I remain appreciative for the experiences.

    Thanks for the kind comments and glad you enjoyed Dr. McG, I’ve always liked him too!



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