Hey, it’s a new comics feature here on MRR.com by Janelle Blarg — just in time for the Punk Comics Issue of Maximum Rocknroll magazine! Tune in for more from Janelle in the weeks to come…
Comical Funnies was a newsprint comics fanzine started in 1980 by John Holmstrom (of Punk magazine and Ramones art infamy) and Peter Bagge (whose ’90s era Hate comic was about the best comic series ever). The late ’70s/early ’80s comics scene in New York was a breeding ground for great cartoonists. Perhaps this could be partially attributed to the fact that many of them were attending the School of Visual Arts, where the late, great Harvey Kurtzman (Mad magazine founder) was teaching at the time. Or maybe the drugs were better then.
Whereas Art Spiegelman & Françoise Mouly’s RAW magazine (also started in 1980) served up a more intellectual, highbrow brand of comic art, Comical Funnies dealt more in the getting-wasted-in-the-alley-and-telling-dick-jokes-with-your-friends brand of comics. You know, comics that were actually FUNNY. But the art was also top notch. No scribble scrabble here, folks. People like Ken Weiner, JD King, Kaz, and Drew Friedman made this a classic.
After one year and a mere three issues, Bagge went on to take over as editor of Last Gasp’s Weirdo (after R Crumb left) and Holmstrom started up Stop! Magazine with JD King, Bruce Carelton, Dale Ashmun, and others. Both of these successors had a very similar vibe (and many of the same contributors) to Comical Funnies.
John Holmstrom’s website
The covers and some of the art of Comical Funnies can be found on Bruce Carleton’s website