Vampire Punks!

Vampire Punks!
Vampire Punks!

The cover, and two interior pages, from Swamp Thing #3, July, 1982. (For higher-resolution scans, try my Flickr Page). In this issue, Swamp Thing fights for his life against Vampire Punks from the small town of Rosewood, Illinois. (I hear they had a wicked hardcore scene back in those days.) Our protagonist runs up against Stiv Slashers, a kid who is turned into a vampire by a hitchhiker. He in turn infects his girlfriend X-Head, who works at the local Blood Bank. Together, they reduce Rosewood to a town of Vampire Punks that terrorize any of the humans left behind. Swampy, being the agreeable moss-encrusted creature that he is, decides to give these punks What For.

(My favorite detail in this issue: the Punks live in the Front Street Arcade, and sleep inside of old Pinball Machines during the day.)

Swampy Enters The Arcade
Swampy Enters The Arcade

Almost as good as the images / dialog from this issue is an exchange in the letters page which showed up in issue #8:

I just read SOTST #3 and was not all that pleased with it. When I first heard of the Punk-rock vampires that were to be in this issue, I thought it would be rather funny. I was, at least, a bit disappointed. I can’t say I agree with the way you portray punks. Contrary to what Phil Donahue, Penthouse, and the Today show say, not all punks are self-destructive junkies.

At the end of the story you have Swamp Thing say, “…You’re too decent… you’re the promise of what this town could be…!” Does this mean that it would be far better to have a world of decent, clean-cut American

boys than it is to have a bunch of unsightly Punk rockers? A lot of people apparently think so, and I’m glad to say I don’t agree. The next time you do a story with punks in it, keep in mind that you can’t believe everything you read or see on television.Mark “Sid” Pfaff
234 S. 6 West
Missoula, MT 59801

Editor’s Response: To Mark – or “Sid”: We thinks thou dost protest too much. The word “punk” never appeared in the story, fella; that’s your label, not ours. And what Alec [Swamp Thing’s alter ego] was so disturbed by was an apparent world-view, not a style of dress. You, as a self-proclaimed “punk,” seem focused on appearance, however – and something that superficial was not at all what concerned the characters in the story.

How It Went Down
How It Went Down

Not only is “Sid” sort of missing the point (this has nothing to do with the comic’s portrayal of punks, but of punks who have turned into vampires and have no soul), but the editor takes a pretty self-righteous attitude toward “Sid” in his response (reading between the lines: the editor understands that appearances do not a person make, but accuses “Sid” of making his assumptions based on the way the way the Vampire’s Dress). This little sequence (and the letter than it provoked) was one of the more entertaining things about Swamp Thing in these early days.

Interesting factoid: Stiv Bators, the Vampire Punk’s namesake, had just started The Lords of The New Church a year before this issue came out. At the time, Stiv was incorporating the stage show of the Dead Boys with a more New Wave / Pop sound, which lead to him becoming a bit of an icon in the music world, even in the mainstream. Considering that Iggy Pop was experiencing some downtime, career-wise, it makes sense that Stiv might be the most recognizable punk icon at the time this writer set to work on Swamp Thing.

And that’s one to grow on.

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Naked Trees Point To The North Star

Naked Trees
Naked Trees

Naked Trees Point To The North Star

A New Book From A.C.R.O.N.Y.M., Inc.

Many of you have probably noticed that I haven’t been very social recently. Here’s one of the reasons why.

Part Novel, part ‘Zine, part essay & part Short Fiction, Naked Trees Point To The North Star is my newest creation, and is available now for the first time ever, in both print and electronic forms! That’s right: now you can enjoy the heady thrill of reading, be it through printed text on paper, or the PDF reader of your choice!

Over 90 pages of text spanning time, space, genre & believability are presented within.  Comedy, tragedy, wordplay & abject misery are presented in twelve interlocking stories, culled from the last several years of work, creating a dense and unwieldy collection of prose no mortal can resist!

Additional features include:

A.C.R.O.N.Y.M., Inc.’s Newly Patented “Thought-Experiment Soundtrack”A List of featured content, corresponding to accompanying page numbers, allows for ease of use when looking for a particular piece of text!A Single Page Of Meta-Text allows you to know everything you ever wanted to know, from that pesky copyright notice, to production information… free of charge!

Occasional images break up the English-Language content! Truly a wonder for the visual senses!

Available with or without staples!

Hundreds of obscure references are contained within, making Wikipedia a virtual necessity while reading! (Pun intended!)

It’s all here, with over 40,000 other carefully selected and arranged words, making this the largest project of this kind ever attempted by the author.

If the leisure-pursuit activity of your choice includes the decoding & ingesting of the written word for the sheer enjoyment of mental exercise, then this is a book you can use to that end!

Naked Trees Point To The North Star. It’s my new book. I’m really proud of it. Check it out!

(Product Information: 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ staplebound. 96 Pages, black & white, with images. Electronic or print versions. The later is free with purchase of the former, and vice versa.  Send orders to: austinrich@gmail.com or 2595 Brooks Ave. NE / Salem OR 97301.)

Read what other readers are writing about this book! (Very meta!)

“It was really good! I’m not much of a literary critic, all I know is I enjoyed reading the stories a lot.”

– Karly Rich, paid family member. (I swear, the check’s in the mail!)

“I liked it! A title is a very important component. No phrase was left unspun, and a great job of writing the ‘fairer sex.’ To Be Concerned is Good is my favorite; I thought the boss’ typo-laden letters were hilarious.”

– Lans Nelson, local female & paid staff member.

“It was a weird reading experience; there’s such an odd mix of humor and despair, intelligence and bafflement, acceptance and frustration, kindness and desperation. Very hard to characterize!”

– Heidi Stauber, Austin’s High School English Teacher, who has received no financial compensation for this statement… yet.