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!

Sunday miscellany.

Spinning: Van Morrison, Magic Time

That Van the Man link up there? Click it. Unless you’re some kind of asshole, you’ll dig this album. His best in a decade or more.

If I ever write a country song, which I won’t, it will be called “I Set Myself Up To Let Myself Down.” I just like how that sounds.

Newcastle thumped West Brom 3-0 today. I’ve never felt this way about a man before.

In high school, I played in a fancy rock ‘n’ roll combo. Our bassist, Jarrod, went on to fame and fortune with white-boy hip-hop group Grand Buffet. While reading a review of one of their recent gigs, I came across the line “Groth looks like a long haired version of Kubiak from Parker Lewis Can't Lose.” Just when you think you’ve got a handle on pop-culture references, some dude named Eddie Ciminelli raises the bar. Bravo.

Quote to start your Monday right: “Visualize success, but don’t believe your eyes.” (The New Pornographers, “Jackie”)