In my last blog I looked at the birth of the black and white horror comic boom that began in the mid 60s and flourished until the early 80s. How it was started by Warren Comics, but spawned more than a few imitators, all of whom avoided the draconian Comics Code Authority because they were deemed to be magazines. Chief among the imitators were three magazines put out by a small publishing company called Skywald, Nightmare, Psycho and Scream. As I stated before, Skywald’s imitation of Warren stopped when a young writer, by the name of Al Hewetson, accepted the editorial reigns and instigated a horror comic revolution he dubbed the ‘Horror-Mood’.
It’s been a while since I did a ‘Who the F*** Is…? feature on this blog, focussing on writers and comic artists who aren’t anywhere near as celebrated as they should be. This time around I want to focus, not just on an artist, but a whole line of black and white horror comics from the 1970s, known to the horror comic cognoscenti as the Skywald Horror Mood.
To begin, I’d like to set the background with a little bit of horror comic history, forgive me if you know most of this already.
What series of events created Jasper Bark?
This is a question that has vexed philosophers, scientists and many upstanding members of the community since November of 1969 Jim. It’s possible that genetic engineering has taken some odd and terrifying side roads to which it never wants to return. It’s also been suggested that some rumours are so vicious they grow flesh and start calling themselves wild eyed authors of the macabre. There are even one or two people that claim it all started when two river gypsies fell in love one afternoon, after one of them fished the other out of the Thames at a boat yard in Teddington Lock. It’s been whispered that the initial result of this somewhat watery union was the writer in question. Then again, some people will believe anything, won’t they?
Here at Gingernuts towers we were mightily impressed with Jasper Bark’s recent collection of short stories and novellas entitled Stuck On You. In fact, we were so impressed, we asked him if he’d be interested in an in-depth interview discussing the book at length. Mr. Bark very kindly agreed. What follows is part one of this interview, examining the inspiration, craft, and thought processes behind the writing of these tales. Part two will follow, covering the remaining tales in the collection. Enjoy, and many thanks to Mr. Bark for agreeing to such a thorough examination…
I thought I’d start this year off with a blog full of FUQs – Frequently Un-asked Questions.
As a writer there are many questions you are frequently asked, not least the least of which are: ‘Do you actually get paid for this?’ and ‘When are you going to get a proper job?’ Occasionally, in the course of being interviewed, I am asked questions that no sane or decent person should ever have to answer, which is most probably why they were levelled at me.
Just saw this from the jovial Jim Dodge over on Zero Signal Magazine:Always a treat, the stories of Jasper Bark are messy, disturbing looks into the mind of a deranged subject of Her Royal Majesty’s United Kingdom. Twisted (definitely), gory (when the situation calls for it) and unbelievably memorable (stock up on Xanax and light bulbs), Stuck on You and Other Prime Cutswill surprise and dismay you and yet you’ll want to read this one from beginning to end without any breaks for oxygen or psychiatric therapy
Kit Powers posted this on my birthday, what a lovely present:Let’s get this out of the way upfront: Yes, these are dark tales. In them, gruesome and grotesque things frequently happen to people. Some will make you question the limits of human endurance. Some will make you question what you had for lunch, or kill your appetite stone dead.
The lovely Matthew Fryer had this to say about my latest collection over on his blog ‘Welcome to the Hellforge’:
“I adored the earlier single release of “Stuck On You”, so when it became the title story of a new collection from Crystal Lake Publishing, I was at the front of the queue. Jasper Bark has since become one of my favourite writers.
My latest column for those lovely folks at This Is Horror“A few years back I won an award for a short story collection. So proud was I of this achievement that I made sure the award was prominently displayed in my downstairs toilet.At about the same time we were having some work done on our cottage. A local builder was taking up the floorboards in the front room. After using our downstairs loo he mentioned, with some apprehension, while I was making him yet another cup of tea, that he’d spotted the award.