Expiration Date by Laura Flook

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Book: Expiration Date

Author: Laura Flook, illustrated by Brian Williams (there are a couple of illustrators called Brian Williams and I cannot determine by style which one inked and lettered this comic – if anyone knows which one it is, let me know and I will link to him)

Type of Book: Comic book, adult comic

Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: It’s a comic about a lunatic funeral home employee and her equally demented assistant.

Availability: You need to go to Laura Flook’s site to order this one.

Comments: Mr. Oddbooks keeps the Apple TV loaded with interesting television shows, some more interesting than others. Because we don’t have access to basic network television I am very much out of the loop where current shows are concerned (and I am okay with that – also, I haven’t seen a television commercial in a couple of years and have noticed a huge upswing in self-esteem, funny that). I was looking for something to have on as background noise as I made dinner one night and found a show called “Odd Folks Home.” I almost didn’t watch it because the intro was kind of hokey but I persevered for a few minutes.

In that few minutes I set eyes on Laura Flook. I turned off the program after her segment because the show really was very hokey but in spite of the sort of artificial wackiness of the show, she seemed like a genuinely interesting person.  The show focused on the woo-woo0-woooo weirdness of her life and the things she collects. Perhaps it says something about my own interests, but Laura Flook did not seem that odd to me. If I didn’t spend every spare penny I have on books, I assure you I too would have a room full of archaic medical equipment and a bottle of ether. She seemed really awkward and clever.  I like awkward and clever people.

So I looked her up, found her site, and when I saw she had a comic for sale, I had to buy it. It’s clearly a DIY sort of project, the book bound with what I believe is the thread one would use to sew up a body post-autopsy (Flook herself is a trained mortician). Printed on one side of the page on glossy paper, it’s entirely in black and white.
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I can’t really discuss the comic in too much depth because it would utterly ruin it. Mostly it’s the hijinx of a mortician worker, Jelly, and her strange assistant, Cal. I found it clever and silly, with a shout out to The Misfits in the form of what I would call a very late-term abortion. I also learned a new medical term: erysipelas (look it up). As amusing as it was, it was gross and grim – dead baby, a genital collection, grave-pissing and more. But even as dark as the content was, I found the comic more amusing than upsetting. There were a few editing issues, but I am increasingly becoming numb to misspellings and homophone substitutions. Small presses will do that to you.

This is likely the shortest discussion I have ever written, and I think the reason I decided to write this up has less to do with the comic than its presentation. As I already mentioned, it appears to be bound in autopsy thread. It arrived in a manila medical records folder. And that tag over the front of the comic? A toe tag.
expDate - tag closeup
I mean, this may seem like no big deal to some of you but I loved this! My own toe tag! Interestingly, St. David’s in Round Rock is one of the few ERs I have not visited since I have lived in Austin. (I am clumsy – very, very clumsy. I managed to stab myself in my life line on my left hand in a very pyrotechnic manner making brownies one day. Brownies. Yep. So imagine what I can do to myself with staircases, hibachis and socks on hardwood floors.) I am also delighted that I apparently died of a communicable disease. Probably something from the cats that became zootrophic.

I found this to be reasonably priced for the scale of production, and especially affordable keeping in mind the level of care Flook took in the shipping and “add ons.” It is a clever, silly, gross and morbid little comic and my readers who find horror comics interesting will want to give this a look.

Drukija, Contessa of Blood and Hidden Lyrics of the Left Hand by Glenn Danzig

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Books: Drujika, Contessa of Blood and Hidden Lyrics of the Left Hand

Author/Artist: Glenn Danzig and Simon Bisley

Type of Book: Graphic novels, adult comics, horror, music

Why Do I Consider These Books Odd: I don’t know. They just are.

Availability: I have no idea if these are in print or not. I couldn’t find them on the Verotik website. I purchased mine from the Verotik store on eBay. I found the Verotik website to be marginally less helpful than a Geocities site, circa 1997, so if this discussion causes you to want to look into Danzig’s comics, the Verotik store on eBay is probably your best bet.

Comments: When George Tierney of Greenville, South Carolina, showed his extraordinary misogyny, his complete misunderstanding of how the Internet works, and his ass, I checked to see what the Twitter response was to his delightful antics. Lots of moral outrage, but the best Twitter response came from an account ostensibly belonging to Glenn Danzig. Danzig’s response was the perfect: “I’d like to get @geotie2323 alone in a room.”

Of course I had to retweet that, as I am only human. Later I came to find that Glenn Danzig doesn’t even have an e-mail address (BOO!), so it was unlikely he had a Twitter account. Still, it was a nice moment in time.

Later I had a bizarre dream wherein a shirtless Glenn Danzig, as he looked in 1992, beat the hell out of the current model of Bill Maher. I have no idea what such a dream means because I like Bill Maher and have no desire to see him beaten up. So as I pondered what the hell that dream meant, I searched on Glenn Danzig. Goodness. He’s a polarizing dude. And he has cats, and a book collection and a cabinet of curiosities that I totally want to rummage through, though in a wholly respectful way.

I have all the books he spoke of in that video (are his books next to a pool? what the hell?) and I understand what he meant when he said “all documented, all true” in reference to Montague Summers’ book on werewolves. I feel like Glenn Danzig and I would find a lot of duplicates if we compared book collections.

I have to explain, however, that I am not that familiar with Glenn Danzig’s body of music. I was a bit too young for the Misfits, I sort of liked Samhain but they got zero radio play in Dallas, and by the time Danzig, the band, was on the rise I had sunk into a weird place of radio alterna-pop and black metal. (In spite of my ignorance of Danzig’s music, I can say this: the current, Danzig-less incarnation of The Misfits released one of the worst songs I have ever heard. “Helena” is both an homage to one of the crappiest and most unintentionally hilarious movies ever and also seems to be a rip-off of a much better song by Acid Bath. Seriously, don’t test me on how much I loathe that song.) I say this because I need y’all to know I can’t speak intelligently about Danzig’s music beyond just dying a little inside when I watch the video “Wicked Pussycat” because those clawed gloves Danzig wears reminds me of when Dwayne on the cartoon Home Movies played Mr. Pants, the fearsomely violent but easily flattered kitty cat.

Here they are for your comparison. Note that the above is NSFW in a major way.

The relevant part starts around at the one minute mark. Brendan Small imbued Nathan Explosion with a bit of Glenn Danzig, so who knows – maybe there is a bit of Danzig in Mr. Pants.

What I guess I’m saying is that for me Glenn Danzig’s music career, while definitely impressive, takes a back seat to the fact that he clearly has the same taste in books as I do and that he is also fond of cats. It was hard for me to see the humor in the macros generated from a grocery store trip wherein Danzig was buying cat litter. Honestly, we buy Mr. Oddbooks’ body weight in cat litter every month. What’s the interest in a man with a cat making sure it can crap someplace other than the floor?

The problem, of course, is that he is Glenn Fucking Danzig. I guess people would feel the same sense of shocked mockery were Lemmy Kilmister found carefully cultivating a butterfly garden. Men like Danzig, who at times seems like a Frank Frazetta character come to life, are not supposed to be caregivers or nurturers. But being who I am, knowing he has a couple of cats he takes care of made me like him so much I was willing to pay a substantial price for two of his comics, a price that Mr. Oddbooks, the real comic aficionado in this house, found shocking for something with a cover that to him was essentially an extended van mural as imagined by a 15-year-old dirtbag as he sketched on his Trapper Keeper in biology.