« I have moss for brains, so I can keep my cool »
It’s kind of sobering to chance across some regional comics… sometimes they’re of such high quality that I tend to wonder at, and regret, the vast bounty cast aside and left in the dust. How much more similarly fine stuff is out there is anyone’s guess. It makes me long for the days of greater cultural variety on a smaller scale, of humble local stations, local stardom and the unpredictable crazy quilt of regional popularity.
Houston, Texas’ Scott A. Gilbert is a prime example. If not for his being awarded a Xeric Grant in 1995, which financed the publication of It’s All True!, a concise 52-page collection of his favourite True Artist Tales, even fewer of us would have been exposed to his freewheeling talent. Without further ado, here are some of my picks from the booklet.
Gilbert’s True Artist Tales was published in rival alternative weeklies Public News (1988-97), and Houston Press (1997-2000). To answer our opening question, Gilbert got $25 a strip at Public News and $30 at Houston Press.
And for a bit more context, here’s an illuminating presentation that former Comics Journal managing editor Robert Boyd gave last year during a retrospective of Gilbert’s art Boyd was curating (now there’s something you don’t often see these days: the use of “curating” in its proper context!)