Gunk’l’dunk v02 #003

[Archival copy – Addresses and upcoming news info might not be current]

Welcome to-

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Vol. 2 #3 April 22, 1996

Gunk’l’dunk is here to provide a forum for fans of Larry Marder’s TALES OF THE BEANWORLD (TOTB), and to promote wider readership of this unique comic. It’s been just over a month since the last issue, which by my standards is pretty astounding. But I had something I wanted to run right away.

Compiled by BobH.
E-mail me to comment or contribute, or to get on the distribution list to get future issues and the occasional other Bean related thing in your e-mailbox.

Founded by Jeremy York (editor, v1 #0-#11)


INTRODUCTION ETC.

The e-mail distribution thing is doing well, with about 30 members so far. All are welcome. You get mostly stuff like this and occasionally other Bean related stuff right in your e-mailbox. Be the first (and very likely only) on your block to get Gunk’l’dunk!

Not much else to mention this time. The ASYLUM Beanworld story continues, up to #3, four pages per issue, good art, not much story so far and those colours. See the Marder interview below for more on where that story fits into Bean lore and the current publishing plans for new and reprint Beanworld stuff.


THIS ISSUE’S CONTENTS

Introduction
Contents page (you are here)
Corrections and Stuff
Interview – Marder in Montreal
Review – Goofy Service Doodle Book
Review – Hungry?
Review – “My Covenant With The Hawk”
In Future Issues…


CORRECTIONS AND STUFF

Just so anyone who tried it knows, around the time last issue came out Alex Rosenheim’s Beanpage was down for a while. It’s working again, so check it out at

http://www.seas.gwu.edu/student/arosen/beangif/

Adding to the Marder bibliography, ARMY SURPLUS COMIX FEATURING CUTEY BUNNY #5 reportedly has a small drawing by Marder among a recommendation and an explanation of how they have the same publishing/distribution arrangement with Eclipse that Marder had.

A magazine, FEATURE has a 7 page interview with Marder in issue #5/6 (Summer 1995) and a long discussion between Marder and Dave Sim in v2#1 (Oct/Nov 1995).

And Diamond’s PREVIEWS had a one page essay by Larry Marder in their Feb. 96 issue (v6#2).


INTERVIEW – MARDER IN MONTREAL

On April 13, 1996, Larry Marder was in Montreal for the Spirits of Independents stop. Keith at the Nebula Bookstore was able to interview him for a few minutes, and was nice sent me a copy of the interview. Thank you, Keith and Larry.

K: I would like to ask you a few questions about the material appearing in “Asylum”. What prompted you to publish a story in an anthology from Maximum Press?

LM: Beanworld’s presence in “Asylum” sort of started out as a personal dare from Rob Liefeld. We were talking about the use of colour, and colouring versus inking and rendering, and I had made the observation that I felt that computer colouring helps to indicate volume which is something that cross-hatching and inking did also. So I made the joke that only simple comics should be coloured heavily. I made the observation that we should stop colouring people like Stephen Platt, whose work is very, very rendered, and that we should just colour Beanworld, and he laughed and said “Okay, then why don’t you do something for me in Asylum?”. I thought about it and it seemed like the same kind of challenge that “Total Eclipse” had felt like eight years ago, and that this was something that I could actually do. And I went through the same sort of thought process I did with “Total Eclipse” which was: have it be all continuity? Have it not be real? [Or] just recognize the fact that I said that I would do this and have it be all in continuity. I got the germ of the idea when I was travelling in Africa with my wife and Jeff Smith and his wife, where I just spaced out one day in the safari vehicle and got this idea. I immediately started telling Jeff about it. He said, “Yeah, it sounds pretty good”, and I just took it away and brought it back home and started working on it. It very quickly turned into a prequel to the 80-page story that I have been working on for the past two years now. There was something missing in the front of that story, and I knew it but didn’t know what it was, and as it turns out that’s this story. Which won’t actually be covered in “Float Force” but you won’t have to read the colour story to understand it, but it will enhance the bigger story. And it certainly is a very similar experience for me like “Total Eclipse” was, just doing it for the sake of doing it. I love seeing my work in colour, and the only thing that bothers me is that I spend time doing it that keeps me away from the 80-pager which results in a certain loss in momentum.

K: Did you go about drawing the colour story any differently than if it were to be printed in black & white?

LM: Absolutely! First of all, I wrote the story knowing that it was going to be in colour. I spend a lot of time around Image colourists. I hear them talk, I see what their tricks are, I see what they can do, I can see what I don’t like, what I do like, so I wrote it very specifically so they could do certain effects. The glowing red glass lens is something I could never do in black & white. So it’s completely different, it’s very specifically written [for colour]. As far as drawing it goes, it’s a lot faster. You don’t have to spot any blacks, the characters, even the chow soldiers, have blue shoes and red shoes, blue pants and red pants and I don’t have to fill these in. In black & white, it’s just black, so I don’t have to wait for that ink to dry, it just goes that much faster, maybe only a small percentage, but it’s very different. It’s a very strange experience because I’m used to walking away from the drawing board and saying “That’s what the page looks like,” and I know what it’s going to print like. Now I’m handing it over to somebody else and they are collaborating too.

K: So any surprises on that front?

LM: I ask for there to be surprises. I would say “This character is this colour, that character is that colour, I want this lens to be a glowing red lens and the colour to reflect off the characters”. But as far as the characters themselves are concerned, the new character, the villain in this, I said “Surprise me with what colours you use, but give it a red hat”. And it was very funny because I had been looking at Picasso and Roy Lichtenstein when I had been designing the character and the colourist, Elizabeth Lewis, came back and said, “I didn’t know what to do with it, so I went home and looked at a Roy Lichtenstein book, and I decided to give it those kind of colours”. And that was the kind of synchronicity that made my hair stand on end! So this was really cool, where she was looking at the same influences that I was looking at but we didn’t know it.

K: The story in “Asylum” also reads like a very good introduction to Beanworld; is that by necessity?

LM: No, it’s by intention because it is an opportunity to be seen by a much larger audience than has ever experienced Beanworld before, and maybe are purchasing the comic for reasons other than Beanworld because they want to see Avengelyne or Battlestar Galactica. Maybe they will get around to looking at [Beanworld] later and also just recognizing it. The first instalment is very much “Here’s the way Beanworld works, here’s the chowdown pool, etc”, sort of establishing, as opposed to having the establishing shot being the last page of that instalment where they are in the chowdown pool and here comes this thing, which is what I would do in the regular Beanworld comic because I don’t have to explain [the world] all the time. But it’s just to try to indicate to the reader that this is just something a little more peculiar.

K: This is, I think, the first time other than maybe “Total Eclipse” that Beanworld readers are reading Beanworld without the glossary.

LM: That’s true.

K: Why did you leave it out or feel it unnecessary?

LM: It’s really because it’s in an anthology book and the space wasn’t even made available to me. So my intention was to write a book that would give the new reader the desire to work out what’s going on in this world, beyond what is available in this anthology. So they could find the tradepaperbacks in their store, and think “Even though it’s in black & white, I want to know more about this world,” and then recognize that there exists a map and a glossary. The map and the glossary aren’t that important in this particular story. In the fourth installment the Spear-Fling’N-Flank’rs play a part, but they say ” Hey Spear-Fling’N-Flank’rs Assemble and Attack!”, and they go and get spears. Maybe the reader doesn’t really understand necessarily, but then again I showed the Spear- Fling’N-Flank’rs in the first installment. There’s no Boom’r Band in this story, there’s no mention of Gran’Ma’Pa or the Pod’l’Pool Cuties, or any of that sort of stuff. I just left it all out. It really is left out. If it were in Beanworld those characters would probably react, but I’m not going to overwhelm the new reader, so it is a bit of a primer.

K: But do the events in this story take place after Beanworld # 21?

LM: Well, Beanworld # 20 and 21 are sort of off continuity, but they definitely take place after #19 and before the next issue. Mr Spook in the first five pages of “Float Force” makes a direct reference to this creature coming and attacking Beanworld. He makes the observation that all of the attacks that occur on the Beanworld have come from the sky. So it helps catalyze the change in his behaviour: “i have always been against the Float Factor and the mystery pods but now I believe we need to understand the skies and set up a perimeter. As a hero and as a soldier I can set up a perimeter of defense that is buffer before they get here, because every danger has come from the sky”, except the stuff in the first issue. But that attacked the Hoi Polloi, so that was [only] an indirect attack on the Beanworld, an attack on the food chain so [the Beans] don’t really even recognize that as being a direct attack on them. So that’s where they want to shore up their line of defense, that’s way Mr. Spook does a complete flip-flop on the Float Factor. In fact, he’s like “Proffy, start working faster”! And then in “Float Force” the Pod’L’Pool Cuties, as they are growing up, make a giant discovery about the Float Factor and it becomes part of their world, to the point that they don’t even want to touch the ground by the end of that story.

K: As we caught a glimpse of in the Hungry? ashcan. So right now the first storyline in Asylum is going to last how many pages?

LM: I believe it will be somewhere between 24 and thirty-two pages; it’s all multiples of four. It seems to work best in that format with really big pictures. It gives the colourist and the Image reader, who really quite frankly is used to getting a lot of pages with only two or three frames per page, the ability to really look at these characters and see them breathe. My original intention was to do a five-part story following the Jim Shooter formula of story- telling: the first four pages was going to be introducing the characters, the second four pages would introduce the conflict, the third four pages was going to be the fight, and the fourth the resolution and the fifth the epilogue. It’s still going to follow that formula but there’s going to be twelve pages of fight! It’s really hard, because the fight just became too interesting, and the wriggling tentacles and such just seemed to deserve the whole page to see it really work in colour. I could have put four or five frames on that page but then it would have been all small and cramped. Everybody has been encouraging me to open those pages up, to make them bigger. That’s one of the things that happened to me when I was doing the 80-pager was knowing that since I had 80 pages I could do bigger frames. The artwork could breathe more, not trying to jam it all into 20 pages.

K: After the first story is concluded do you intend for Beanworld to appear in “Asylum” again?

LM: If “Asylum” is still being published and they ask me to do it, I will do it.

K: Now the big question: when can we expect to see “Float Force”?

LM: I don’t know. I want it to be out by next winter, but I thought it was going to be out by last winter, so if I gave anybody any kind of definitive date at this point, I would just be embarrassed later on to say that I have to eat my words. I’m not commuting back and forth from Chicago [to California] anymore and this is going to help me get a lot more work done. I plan on having a productive summer and fall.

K: I hear that you are planning on reissuing the second trade collection?

LM: The second tradepaperback I am going to solicit for August. The third tradepaperback will probably come out either directly before or after “Float Force”; it will definitely come out in the wintertime whether “Float Force” does or not. I don’t know which will be first, but they certainly won’t be solicited in the same month. One of the interesting options to properly do the third collection that includes the “Total Eclipse” material, it has always been my intention that in that issue between the two “Total Eclipse” things, was to do a story that was “Total Eclipse” from Beanish’s point-of-view, done in my style.

K: Like that one-pager in issue 11?

LM: No, no, no. Like that, but to do a five-page insert that was mostly Beanish and Miracleman interacting. The ownership of Miracleman and “Total Eclipse” became this big mess, but Todd McFarlane owns Eclipse now so it’s back in the family. And I can now deal with someone who I know, who I work with, who I work for and actually do something, whereas had I produced this six months ago I would have had to leave all that out.

K: Will there be any new material in the second trade collection?

LM: I don’t know; I am going to rearrange the production pages so I really don’t know.

K: Just as a wrap-up, I have read a lot about your influences like native American mythology and Marcel Duchamps and I was wondering what stuff do you like to read? What have you been reading lately?

LM: Actually all I have been reading for six or seven months now are histories of organized crime. One of the reasons why I have been doing that is the way Image Comics is set up and the way its various studios interact with each other is a structure very similar to the 1930s and 40s mob, right after prohibition when they set up the national syndicate. It doesn’t make any sense, I know!

K: Who’s Al Capone in all this?

LM: Al Capone is nobody in this but Todd McFarlane is Lucky Luciano, though. Seriously, for whatever reasons I become obsessive with various subjects and that is one that has caught my fancy and I’ve just been reading non-fiction about that since last summer.

K: So if Todd is Luciano does that make you Meyer Lansky?

LM: You’ve got that right on!

K: Thanks a lot and I appreciate talking with you.


REVIEW – GOOFY SERVICE DOODLE BOOK by Geoff Weber

This is an ashcan size release from the Beanworld press. To begin, I will quote the introduction, to give you some of the Larry’s motivations for bringing this together:

+++++++++++++++++++

‘My name is Larry Marder and I’m a habitual doodler.

This behavior got me into lots of trouble during my school years– particularly in algebra classes. I knew I was supposed to pay attention to the teacher but I couldn’t help myself– when I had a pen or pencil in my hand I just had to draw something!

Then I grew up and went into the advertising business. As much as I tried to control myself– the practice continued. I spent hours and hours in lengthy business meetings (listening to clients drone on and on about the merits of their products) and I’d zone out to start doing some goofy doodling. From those many hours and hours of doodling came most of the characters and concepts found in my comic book, Tales of the Beanworld.

In Tales of the Beanworld #21 I published a few of my doodles at the end of the Hoo*Hoo*HAs & a Hoka*Hoka*HEY letter column. In my closing comment I asked Beanworld fandom if they wanted to see more doodles and the answer was an overwhelming “Yes!”

So here it is “the first issue of Larry Marder’s Goofy Service Doodle Book.

The goofy doodles found within this book were all drawn while in service to someone else– I was being paid to analyze their business endeavors not mine. All were drawn over the last three years. The goofy doodles on pages 1-15 were drawn during meetings when I was Marketing Director of Moondog’s in Chicago, Illinois. The goofy doodles on pages 16-25 were drawn during meetings at Image Comics in Anaheim, California, where I am currently serving as Executive Director.

There are many clues to the future of Beanworld within the pages of this Goofy Service Doodle Book. Some are obvious and others are hidden. Some may take a long time to be completely understood. Let your imagination run wild. Search very carefully and you will find a few missing pieces of the Big*Big*Picture.’

+++++++++++++++++++

My review of this:

If Tales of the Beanworld is the main course, than the Goofy Service Doodle Book rates as an appetizer. Light, yet whets your appetite for more. Answers lead to only more questions. A cycle which all the would-be solvers of the Big*Big*Picture are all to familiar with.

Speaking on strictly quantitative terms, the Doodle Book weighs in at 25 half size pages, with a total of 83 doodles, cover-to-cover. Some look familiar. Others look alien, yet distinctly Beanworldian. Others are quite random. -Sketches for their own sake. Freestyles of the pen.

By now I’m sure you’re wondering about those Beanworld clues Larry mentions. Well, if you are willing to take my interpretation as valid then here are a number of things I suspect await us in the Beanworld Future. A sort of Beanworld, “Coming Attractions”, if you will.

New characters with Tu’ba’lu’Squib’r’ish appendages! — Something is definitely going to be happening with the clouds in the future. Clouds for transportation? Could it be? Lets just say it seems to involve Float-factorized twinks. That’s not all. Those crazy beans are taking to the sky in major ways. Skating through the air with a floating chip on each foot. Again those transformed twinks seem to play a roll. Will adolescent beans have long sprouts strings coming off their head or is this a new tribe that is breaking off / encountered? In any case he’s looking mighty native holding that cou-stick with the leaves tied to it. These two floating eyeballs, “Meep!”, and “Zorb!” look like they could become characters. Adorned in chips, –Beanish style! Dreamishness gets some cool new shades –And a Tu’ba’lu’Suib’r’ish body ta’boot? Wowzers– I’m not gonna even try to guess what that thing is the Chip-skating bean is holding. But it seems to be shootin’ a beam outta the front end!! A Notworm propellered horsie, being ridden by Mr. Spook? The Leaf of Proffy’s Fix-it shop wilting or falling off. A HATCHED BUG!?

I haven’t touched on some of the really weird stuff like the clown-head guys or the grumpy monster.

Expect the unexpected. If you thought the Big*Big*Picture was starting to come into focus for you, man are you gonna be shocked..

Happy exploring!

-Geoff Weber


REVIEW – HUNGRY? by BobH

(this is the same review I’ve already posted a few places, if you’re wondering why it seems familiar)

y’know, there are a few things in comics I’m not really qualified to review. Well, some people would say a lot of things (everything?), but I’m talking specifically about things which reduce me to complete fanboy status. Kirby from about ’65 to ’75 is one of them. Anything from the first 75 or so issues of Sheldon Mayer’s SUGAR & SPIKE is another. And any big chunk of b&w BEANWORLD from Larry Marder is the modern example. So this review won’t be much on picking nits, just basking in wonderment. One doesn’t quibble with perfection. Okay, before getting into spoilers, the basics. The ashcan is 28 pages, digest-style minicomic, black and white (except the cover which is black and light grey). Wraparound cover of Big Fish and Heyoka, two pages of introductions and three segments from FLOAT FORCE. The first is presented finished, the second with pencil roughs and finished version side by side and the third just pencils. There’s also a page of Proffy’s thoughts on the inside back cover. For the established Beanworld fan this is highly recommended, even though this stuff is going to be in FLOAT FORCE. First because the 8 pages of roughs and two pages of introduction are great. And second because it’s a Beanworld fix and who knows how long before FLOAT FORCE comes out (Marder says he’s hopeful for mid-Winter, but it hasn’t been solicited as far as March. “The season is passing!”). It doesn’t have any of the dialogue heavy scenes I =really= like from Marder, but it has more than a few intriguing hints of things to come. And it’s better than buying ASYLUM, for about the same price. And you get three large colour stickers of Mr. Spook (from the cover of the latest printing of the first collection). For introducing the new fan to Beanworld, I’m less sure. That’s hard for me to judge. It would probably be less effective than most of the 21 existing issues, but there is enough of what makes Beanworld special that if they’re hookable, this’ll hook ’em. It’s just lacking a bit in that you don’t see much of a lot of key characters and concepts, but what is here is explained perfectly. ::whew::, so much for the introduction. Now the review…

Oh, slight hint first, if you read “Hungry?”. It should go without saying that if you’re at all familiar with Beanworld (and maybe even if not) you should skip the intros first and just read the stories. Time enough for intros after. Spoiler-type stuff starts about now. Okay, “Hungry?” opens up with a ten page sequence from about 1/4 of the way through FLOAT FORCE. Largely an establishing sequence. Proffy’s once again stalled on Float Factor research, even with the Elusive Notworm hanging around (personally I think it knows more than it’s saying…). Proffy goes back to work making spears, and the Notworm goes to play with the baby Beans. A game similar to the one Mr. Spook used to play with Mr. Teach’m. While there’s nothing remarkably new here, it does establish the Notworm’s new place in Bean society, and no doubt recaps everything needed to understand the next step Proffy’s research takes. Next up is “The return of the Big Fish”! ::yayy:: Love that Big Fish. This is a five page scene, presented in both rough pencils on the left and finished on the right. It’s Big Fish encountering Heyoka. What I love about this scene is that I figured out just about everything that I figured out just about everything Marder says in his introduction to this story before reading the introduction. There’s just such a complete clarity of vision in his work. Nothing is wasted, which I love. Then there are three pages, just pencils, from later in FLOAT FORCE. “Boom’n’Zoom’n”. And it’s pretty clear that there’s been a breakthrough (if not a Breakout…). There’s just enough here (and in the background presented in the intro) to =really= make me impatient to read the whole story. It’s pretty clear that FLOAT FORCE will touch on almost everything. More on Beanish and Dreamishness, inventions from Proffy, the return of Heyoka, changes in the food chain. And as is always the case with Beanworld, this sequence shows that all things are inter-related. Finish off with a page of Proffy’s thoughts. I’m not sure where this fits, but it refers back to several old scenes in Beanworld. There are inventions in Proffy’s Fix-It Shop which she still doesn’t know anything about. This page has my one and only quibble with the book. Proffy is shaded with some sort of mechanical grey-tones. Blah. Lacks the solidity one expects from Marder. So, overall, pretty close to the perfect comic. Bob


REVIEW – MY COVENANT WITH THE HAWK by BobH

This is a short story, published in RIP OFF COMIX #17 (look for the Reagan-as-Dick-Tracy cover). The theme of the issue was true arrest stories, and Marder provides a four-page autobiographical story illustrated by Don (Megaton Man) Simpson.

Yes, this is Marder’s brush with the law. Or something very much like it. Definitely one of the more innocent stories in the issue. Marder’s criminal reign of terror consists of shoplifting, the time he got caught shoplifting two comic books (we’re not shown what comic books they are. From the comics we are shown on the rack, this story would be 1966 (go-go checks on the SEA DEVILS comic. There’s an FF shown, I wonder if I can match it to an actual cover…). I’m guessing some Marvel books by Jack Kirby, maybe a Superman).

Of course he promptly gets caught, by some big scary guy known only as the Hawk. The rest of the story follows Marder’s subsequent fear of the Hawk, and how he was scared out of a life of crime. And the comic world is so much the better for it. Three cheers for the Hawk!

It’s a cute story, and quite a change from the hard-time, low-life scum story you get from the other underground artists in here.

I was less enamoured with the artwork. I’m not a huge fan of Don Simpson. He starts off pretty strong on the opening scene with Marder and the Hawk, does okay on the next page with just Marder, and then absolutely falls down on the last page with Marder and his friends. It’s completely lifeless.

Still, an interesting experiment. The only thing I’ve seen that Marder wrote for another artist. It certainly would be hard to imagine this being done in his own style.


IN FUTURE ISSUES

I’d like to continue the Beanworld/Marder rarities reviews. I’ll do a few myself, but for some I’d really like to see other people. For example, if any Scout or Grimjack fans would like to do reviews of Marder’s cameos in those books, that would be neat. It would give a different perspective from what someone like me (who reads them purely because I’m a bean fan) gets. Anyway, I’ll probably do at least one an issue, and I’ll run similar reviews sent in by anyone else.

And the usual “anything else” is always welcome, of course.

Bob

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