Monday, September 16, 2013
Ugly Dog on the Spine
When the editor of a new anthology of mini comics asked my brother David Lee Ingersoll which of David's many self-published mini comics should be the ONE that appears in the anthology, David turned to me for my opinion. David said he would prefer to suggest an issue of The Davey Thunder / Jack Lightning Show, the series we co-created.
Thunder & Lightning were radio DJs we invented back in junior high. A friend who volunteered at a college radio station invited us to join him for a few shows and just being ourselves would have been too boring so we came up with characters. David was Davey Thunder; I was Jack Lightning. We added an elf and a dragon, because why wouldn't we?
When, many years later, David got to publishing his minis, caught up in the indie zine ferment of the 80s, he asked me to bring back Thunder & Lightning. He was already writing & drawing two other series -- Cheap Thrills (featuring horror stories a la EC) and The Highly Unlikely Adventures of Moe & Detritus (which continued life as a full-size comic called Misspent Youths) -- and he wanted to produce something else, something he didn't have to write. We got a few issues done before David burned out. It's not like he was making money on this stuff, right?
When the prospect of the anthology came up I got out the old issues of The Davey Thunder / Jack Lightning Show and reread them. I liked 'em! But which to recommend? They build on each other, but as stand-alones seem pretty slight. Except for "The Ugly Dog of Heaven," which is also the wordiest. I didn't want to recommend the one that was all full of writing, even if it was my writing. I wanted to recommend something that used the comics form best. Besides, Thunder & Lightning themselves hardly appear in the story. Finally, I told David what I was thinking and he said he was inclined toward "Ugly Dog," too. So. We went with "The Ugly Dog of Heaven."
The Ugly Dog of Heaven is an angel, presumably. It patiently listens to people's troubles. It looks mangy and has watery eyes and has little wings growing out of its shoulders.
The video above features hands flipping through the Treasury of Mini Comics, vol. 1, edited by Michael Dowers, published by Fantagraphics Press. When the hands close the book and turn the book so you get a good look at the spine you will see the Ugly Dog of Heaven at the bottom of the spine. That's quite a reveal! The designer snipped the Dog from the cover of The Davey Thunder / Jack Lightning Show.
You can buy directly from the Fantagraphics website.