The Toon, The Dead, and Leon Beyond

Back in 2000, I bought the Gyuto monk costume worn by Tom Servo in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode "Horror of Party Beach." It was the coolest thing I owned, until I opened the mail on Tuesday.

Kevin Huizenga is one of my favorite cartoonists - he's one of the few people whose new work I buy no questions asked. Among his many projects is Amazing Facts ... and Beyond! With Leon Beyond, a fake-trivia strip he co-creates with Ted May and Dan Zettwoch for the St. Louis Riverfront Times. When the guys were informed that there wasn't enough money in the paper's budget to keep the strip going, they launched the Beyondathon, in an effort to save Leon. You supply a donation and a topic, and Kevin, Dan, or Ted would supply the cartoon.

Well, yeah, I wasn't going to pass that up. I originally asked Kevin to do something about Newcastle United, my adopted home team in the English Premier League (that's soccer, folks!). When he emailed to get a little more information, I wavered and wobbled and said he could also do something about the Grateful Dead, since I was on a pretty obsessive kick at the time. Most likely losing patience with me, Kevin sent a simple email: "I'll do both." And boy howdy he did. If you want a better look at the finished product, check out the scan over on the Amazing Facts blog.

If you want to check out some of Huizenga's non-Leon stuff, I love his adaptation of Sheridan Le Fanu's "Green Tea" (you can read the first part here; the whole story is in the excellent Curses hardcover collection), and his Ganges #2 was rightfully near the top of many best-of-2008 lists. If you dig the Amazing Facts stuff, you can also get their first collection, The Factoids of Life.

The Beyondathon is still accepting requests, so if you're into this stuff, get in on it while you can!

Summertime Jams and U92's New Zine

Transient

The latest issue of Wireless, the official zine of my college-radio alma mater, U92, is now available for download - you can grab the PDF, plus the first two issues, here. (If you're in Morgantown, you can also stop by the station and pick up a print copy.)

I wish we'd been doing these during my tenure at the station. There's something impossibly romantic about little underground mags like this; they speak directly to my inner J-school student, his fingers still all smudgy with newsprint, his head buzzing with strange new chemicals and a surface-at-best understanding of Hunter S. Thompson's importance as a journalist. Those truly were the days.

Anyway. Yeah, it would have been a lot of fun to work on this. If you're into college-type music, give it a look. There's a good summer-festival roundup, some interviews with people I've quite frankly never heard of, a handful of reviews and previews, and even a chana masala recipe. Something for everyone.

One thing that caught my eye was the Favorite Summer Albums feature on p. 32. I'm having a hell of a time coming up with my top summer long-player, but in terms of songs, I'm thinking it's mighty difficult to top this one.

Of course, if I'd played that during a regular airshift, Alex would have drop-kicked me out the back door or made me eat a copy of Soul Mining or something.