Issue #25, March 1996
The "Apocalypse" collages [interspersed throughout the issue] were created in 1994 originally intended for the issue of Bad Subjects with that theme. They are playful, decorative follies, in the tradition of the "Dance of Death" prints five centuries ago except assembled upon a flatbed scanner from the ubiquitous found imagery of our nutty times.
As heartland teenagers my gang went through our moody proto-Goth eschatological phase, gobbling LSD to better peruse the arcana of Dürer's ornate "Apocalypse of St. John" woodcuts, couching the intensity of growing up and hunger for experience in a self-conscious Beardleyesque (well, LouReedian then) decadence...and thus energized, drawing and circulating our comics documenting highschool as clearly the End Times. Howard Junker's essay in a well-thumb'd Rolling Stone
"The Apocalypse is Upon Us", which framed nasty events of the high Nixon era like the ill-planned Altamont Raceway concert as the end of all Peace, Love and Understanding, only shook us adolescent nerveballs into seeing the music playing around us — the Stooges and MC5 — as screaming horsemen of the final days.
Apocalyptic talk was especially in the air again in 1982 at the time of coordinated international activism against nuclear missle proliferation in Europe; the TV movie "The Day After" documents how mainstream that concern had become. To a lesser extent millenarian doomstuff
had circulated sulfurously in the Bay area in 1978-79 — post-Jonestown, Mayor Moscone & Harvey Milk dead, Governor Jerry Brown out of office and in the political wilderness, as Jimmy Carter's malaise-conservatism grew with an ear to Reaganite drumbeats — when
members of the high-profile Revolutionary Communist Party were doing their darndest to make people think that proletarian revolution à la Mao was imminent through concentrated application of unruly
demonstrations, powerful graphics and Matt Callahan's rock n' roll. Meanwhile I still wait for a rightwing institute to publicly give generous awards to the developers of crack cocaine and AIDS, the two inventions of destruction with the greatest impact on the culture — and hence, politics — of the 1980s.
Finally, apocalyptic thoughts return in moments awed by natural pheonomena, shuddering through the 1989 earthquake, watching the skies redden in the 1991 Oakland hills fires, or this winter's storms clearly marked by the effects of global warming. By throttling the possibility of the End and gazing into its buzzard eye we can better reinvent the present. My present for you is these fleeting graphics.