Mike McMahon

Mike McMahon

In the early nineties, Jim Boswell and me walked into a Macclesfield pub with photocopied, stapled issues of ‘Weird City’, our first self-produced comic, and amazingly – they sold. If I ever get around to it, I’ll scan a few copies and put them up here. My contributions dwindled to nothing almost immediately – leaving Jim as editor for the rest of the five (or was it six?) issue run. And as I buggered off to University, he started attending ‘graphic narrative’ courses (or whatever they were called) in Manchester. Soon, a whole bunch of brilliant new people were contributing. Weird City ended up being called ‘a potential jewel in the small press crown’ in some review or other, and, by the time the thing folded, Jim had even managed to convince Glenn Fabry to draw a cover, gratis, after interviewing him about his work. I’ll transcribe that interview another time, but for now, here’s an interview that was printed with the fantastic Mike McMahon – a huge influence on many of the cartoonists I’ve spoken to who, like me, had religiously bought 2000AD as a kid. (The interview was by Peter Walker, by the way. Some time in ’93). Weird City: How did you first get into comics? Mike McMahon: I sent some samples to the War Picture library editor, and he thought they were alright, but he didn’t want to use them. So he sent me round to an agent, who was a nice middle class guy who assumed my name was Mike. Everyone really calls me Mick. I didn’t want to upset him so I said...

crumb transcript

Thanks to Mike, who had held onto a transcript of some of that Crumb interview I was telling you about, and who saved me having to find the tape and type it all out. It’s more interesting than the finished article, I reckon, and gives you more of an idea of what kind of guy Crumb is/was (it also gives you more of an idea of how green I was to all this). So, here goes. It was done onstage at the ICA, straight after a performance by Crumb’s band. It wasn’t complete, anyway, and I’ve cut a slither from the beginning, as that was very much about the band and not as interesting, I don’t think (general gist: French music is good). Anyway, this blog’s supposed to be about cartooning. Robert Crumb, 3rd April 1999. Elliot: How does your love of music manifest itself in your work?Crumb: It’s an indirect thing. I don’t know, I try not to analyse it. But I love my music and I listen to it every day, y’know. Get out one of my old 78’s and go through the old ritual. I love laying on the needle, turning it on, sit down, listen, get up, put it away, get out another; I love it. It’s very important to me.E: The way you come across in the stuff written about you, and also your work…C: A real crank, I know.E: That’s not what I’m getting at…C: I am. I hate most stuff. Rock and roll, computers. I’m a real nightmare.E: Is there anything modern that interests you?C: Girls. All these modern girls have great...
crumb

crumb

We’re sorting out the flat at the moment, boxing things up and moving them around so new flooring can be put in. During the tumult, I found the June 1999 copy of SLEAZENATION magazine – one of those postmodern, Hoxton-based London rags that Charlie Brooker ended up satirising with Nathan Barley. My friend Jenny was assistant editor at the time, and earlier that year, she called up and asked if I’d like to go along to the ICA and interview Robert Crumb. As you can imagine, I jumped at the chance. He was in London promoting his part of the ‘EMI Songbook Series’ – compilation CDs put together by various ‘left-field’ artists. Also at the ICA, I met Gilbert Shelton and Ralph Steadman – both of who drew a picture in my notebook (Steadman drew Nixon, Shelton drew Fat Freddy’s Cat and waxed lyrical about how beautiful London’s architecture was). It still galls me that I lost the notebook later that night, my 24 year-old brain fried by all the free tequila on offer. Anyway – Below is the piece as it appeared. Of course there are a few mistakes here and there (Crumb never submitted ‘Fritz the Cat’ to MAD, for example) but I think it’s fair to chalk half of those up to the judicious sub-editor, and the other half to me (not the dig at comic shops at the end, mind, that was them). Fans won’t find anything new in it, I’m afraid. I’ve a cassette recording of the whole interview somewhere, which is leagues longer and more involved. If I ever find it, I may...