(Click most images for bigger versions)
After Genetic Disorder #14, the Satanic theme issue, followed by #15, the single-story tour diary, Larry returned to a grab-bag approach in issue #16 in 1999, and the issue featured a variety of articles on a wide range of topics. Also, the size was changed yet again, to classic comic book proportions, so I decided that the "Tales From the Crypt" approach, with circles down one side, was a good way to get a lot of information about the contents onto the front cover. Other than that, I'd say my primary two influences on this project were Sanrio and Garbage Pail Kids.
Larry and I had a great working method: he would give me an envelope filled with all the finished articles from the upcoming issue, as well as descriptions of unfinished pieces, so I always got to read most of the contents for inspiration. Larry always surprised me by pretty much letting me do whatever I wanted. I was especially surprised that he liked this totally slick/girly/cartoony approach in pastel colors, which is so totally opposite to the gritty contents of the magazine.
This time I knew what I was doing, and as a result, the magazine as printed looks exactly like the image above. For the first time, I made absolutely everything a vector image, so nothing had to be left to chance.
The central figure, Li'l Kunty™, is this time displaying her parasitic twin. She has nothing whatsoever to do with the contents of the magazine, other than by using her three issues in a row, she had become something of a mascot. Mostly I just loved the idea of a really cute cartoon character having such a drastic abnormality. Here's the rough version, done in graphite, Prismacolor, and gouache:
For the back cover, I was able to feature more of the magazine's contents by presenting them as fake trading cards:
That was a lot of work! I had a couple of alternatives and early ideas that didn't make the cut, like these:
And this, a cartoon version of the infamous Brenda "I don't like Mondays" Spencer:
Brenda got bumped in favor of Gary Heidnik. I'm not sure why! Drawing Heidnik was a real challenge, because I suck at likenesses, and because it was hard to make it realistic enough to look like him, but still cartoony enough to fit in with the rest of the illustrations. This is the photo I used for reference:
I also did an illustration for the inside of the magazine, for the "Cursed Ass" story promised on the front cover:
I remember Larry's reaction to that one was, "Ha, ha. that looks like porn," to which I probably responded by changing the subject.
And finally, for the inside front cover, to advertise myself, I chose this image, a drawing I did as a study for a painting:
Have you accepted Talking Captain Kangaroo Doll as your personal savior?
Next up: Genetic Disorder #17... in 3D!
UPDATE: Part one is here, two is here, four is here, five is here, and six is here. Purchase copies of these wonderful zines here.