(Click any for bigger.)
I first met Larry Harmon, creator of Genetic Disorder, in about 1997 in San Diego. GD was (is?) a lively, hilarious, and well-written "zine", and Larry was a respected and influential member of the underground publishing community. Like many other zines, GD was, at its core, a music fanzine, featuring record and concert reviews, interviews with bands, etc. But the remainder of the publication was a highly inventive grab-bag of random, well-written and scrupulously researched, articles about whatever was obsessing Larry and his rowdy friends at the moment. At the time, I was working full-time for Hypno, a magazine with commercial, mainstream aspirations, and always felt a little embarrassed when I saw how cool Genetic Disorder was.
In 1995, Larry mentioned to me that he was going to do a big theme issue on Satanism, and I immediately begged him to do the cover. I think Larry had met my over-the-top "Satanic" friend Ricky Rebel, and had seen what we had done with Satan Brand Magazine, so he enthusiastically agreed.
I came up with the idea of cute kids about to sacrifice a cat almost instantaneously; it was my first idea and required no revision. I drew the characters in a kind of wireframe style using the most pitiful, primitive PC graphics programs imaginable. I'm pretty sure it was Autodesk Animator. I then printed all the individual elements out, pasted them up, and then "reverse painted" the illustration with cel vinyl on a sheet of stiff acrylic at a 1:1 ratio. Larry added the title lettering in Photoshop, using VAG Rounded at my request, and I loved how the whole thing came out. And the whole issue, brimming with hilarious and astonishing tales of Christian Satanic Panic, bone-headed metal fans, and an incredible calendar of daily Satanic fun facts, one relevant to every single day of the year, was a new high water mark for Larry and GD.
Larry and I worked so well together that I ended up doing the next five covers (all of which feature the grinning little girl with pigtails) for Genetic Disorder, too, and if he ever produces another issue, I hope to do that one as well. I never charged Larry a cent, because it was just so much fun doing the covers for him, and so gratifying to have something physically printed (remember those pre-internet days?). I even paid to make one expensive cover idea possible! Part of that bargain, I suppose, is that I made mistakes on every single one of them, so it was a valuable learning experience for a totally untrained dilettante like me (I'm not being modest; I have never taken a single course in graphics, so doing these covers was literally my education).
About a year after doing this cover, I started learning how to use Adobe Illustrator, and remade the illustration as a proper vector image:
You can still buy all of these, including the one featured here, which is highly recommended, at Larry's somewhat rudimentary GD website. Collect them all!
Next: Larry and my cover design hit the road in Genetic Disorder #15! Live the adventure!
UPDATE: Part two is here, three is here, four is here, five is here, and six is here. Purchase copies of these wonderful zines here.