Archive for the 'Nostalgia File' Category


Nostalgia File: Sara Varon and the rarest staplegenius comic of all…

   Back in the mid-2000’s, the local peddlers of modern art and giant cherry sculptures–THE WALKER ART CENTER–had the genius idea of hiring NY cartoonist SARA VARON (“SWEATERWEATHER”, “ROBOT DREAMS”) to design the look of their “FREE FIRST SATURDAYS FOR FAMILIES” program.  Not too long after this started they flew Ms Varon in for a day dedicated to her and the amazing and kid-friendly medium of comics.  Having some runts around the house myself we headed over to check it out.  Lots of fun was had–including meeting Sara–but the best part was the ‘workshop’ where kids could make their own comics by coloring, cutting, and pasting some Sara Varon clip-art.  Not wishing to stay in the constraints of clip-art, I did my own versions of Sara’s characters and created my own one-of-a-kind comic.  Sara’s stuff is magical and joyous it was really fun to play in her world for an hour or so.  Seriously–check out her stuff today!  So here it is–the rarest and most rated ‘G’ thing I have ever made:

   Awwww…Danno does have a soul after all.   Thanks Sara!


Nostalgia File: “14 Year-Old Genetically-Altered Martial Arts-Trained Slugs”–The Introduction–by Dan Murphy and myself

   There was a lot going on in the early 1990’s….ummm…ok…not really.  That’s probably why FIGHT CLUB’s eventual release resonated so well with our generation.  Anyway, in the early 90’s Eastman and Laird’s TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES were about the biggest thing going.  Being hard-core dorks, longest-time collaborator DAN MURPHY and I knew we had to get in on that action, and so…

DANNO KLONOWSKI:  So like the title of this post reads, this story is just the start.  Dan and I did a couple more over the next few months following this.  The need for physical activity was palpable.

DAN MURPHY:  I remember being psyched doing the Slugs after you pitched me the idea.  I think we did this first story for the Northdale Jr. High “literary” “publication” called “Graffiti”. I drew the cover for that as well, it’s of some happy couple walking past a slumped over bum (no idea why I chose that).

DANK:  I think this was the first one, too.  If not it’s really no big deal.  Over-wrought continuity existed firmly as an idea in my head, but rarely translated well to paper. 

MURPHY:  By 1991 the TMNT b&w boom had been over for like 4 years or something, but the novelty was new enough to us apparently. 

DANK:  I was a huge–HUGE–fan of ‘Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters” by Don Chin and Parsonavich.  My childhood best friend Patrick (who moved away about 5 years before we did this comic) had bought the first issue of ARBBH and it blew us both away.  Neither of us even knew TMNT existed, so we thought Chin and Parsonavich were visionary geniuses.  Anyway, 5 years later I well aware of what ARRBH was (a parody comic) and I was still in love with it.  At this time there were little and big comic-cons going on about every 4 months at various Radissons or where-ever, and I would spend my time at these cons hunting thru the quarter bins for any and all black and white parody comics from upstart publishers of the late 80’s who usually only ever got one or two issues out before folding.  Some of them were good, but most of them were awful.  To this day I think ARBBH is the cream of the crop, and Chin’s writing and Parsonavich’s art were huge influences on what I continue to produce to this day.  In fact, a few months ago I finally purchased online an issue of ARBBH I didn’t even know existed–the last one Chin and Parsonavich did.  I found Don Chin online and sent him a thank-you email.  Sadly, when I asked him if there was any way to contact Parsonavich he knew of none–I guess Parsonavich has disappeared into the ether.   But if you’ve read ARBBH, that “end” for Parsonavich is perfectly fitting.

MURPHY:  For the Slugs stories I invented a lo-fi shading technique of laying a piece of window screen on the page and using a thin sharpie poking a dot through each gap for make-shift zip-a-tone/ben-day dots. Drawing the slugs was fun because I didn’t need to worry much about anatomy, and I was able to get pretty expressive with them. There was a marked  drawing improvement over the MAN-MAN story I drew that you posted. So their “Splinter” was named “Woodtick” and I just drew a pointy circle shape with eyes, this was before google image search so I must have been too lazy to actually look in a book for a reference, even though I’m sure I’d seen woodticks before.   I forgot about the fact we did 3 stories, the last one being a whopping 11 pages!

DANK:  It’s true, Dan!  And we’ll be back with both of those exciting  adventures in the days to come!


Nostalgia file: “SPICEMARE!!!”

  At the LUTEFISK SUSHI ‘D’ show I displayed a lot of my older art–and by older I mean stuff I made in junior high.  It was a conscious choice to more or less skip everything from 11th grade up until about 2 years ago.  Not that I’m totally unproud of it all, I just more wanted to stress the idea that stuff I made when I was 14 had more or less the same tone as things I’m producing 20 years later.  Anyway, one of the more “modern” things to make the cut fell more or less right in the middle of that 20 year span.  See when I was 22 my roommates and I went thru an unhealthy period where we really liked the SPICE GIRLS–their music, videos, and movie.  It got so out of hand that it eventually invaded my REM sleep.  That in mind, may I now present SPICEMARE (based on two true dreams, with footnotes to follow the comic below):

   For those who might be interested, here is some historical context:


**  I did indeed sleep on a mattress on the floor back then, though technically I slept the other way around.


**  To this day Mel C–aka SPORTY–denies she is a lesbian.   I was dating a lesbian at the time of this comics production.  That was the 90’s for you.

**  I’m not sure what’s up with the BABY SPICE thing (which even continued into the second dream on page 2).  She was just marginally ahead of GINGER as my least favorite Spice Girl (the official ranking was SCARY, POSH, SPORTY, BABY, GINGER).  Who knows how the brain works.


**  I used to have flying dreams all the time.  As a little kid I would even have them while I was awake.  I think I used to be a bird.

**  JILL was my roommate JOE’s girlfriend, and the person who originally infected us with the dreaded SPICE GIRLS virus (though MATT and I seeing the film together one afternoon sealed the deal).

**  STACY was great unrequited love of my life at the time (or to paraphrase the great KEVIN CANNON–my “LONG-CON”).

**  I did eventually get over the whole Spice Girls thing.  Though it was just always brimming under the surface.  Like when I met an actual British girl about 5 years later–another failed long-con–I couldn’t have been happier to have finally found a SCARY SPICE of my own.  And to this day I’ll still find myself doing things like putting LILY ALLEN songs on my iPod.  It’s all related, I’m sure.  Or a genetic deficiency.

   AND FOR THE LOVE OF THE 8-BIT GOD!!! If you are in MINNEAPOLIS tomorrow (THURSDAY, AUGUST 19th 2010), you MUST clear your scheduale for the following awesomeness I help co-organize:


Nostalgia file: “MAN-MAN–THE KILLING JEST” by Dan Murphy and myself, also: ‘LUTEFISK SUSHI D’ is friday!!!

As I said in the last post, my junior high comic opus MAN-MAN was basically a parody/rip-off comic.  And here is some awesome proof for your pudding by myself and DAN MURPHY:

  And now, some thoughts on this tale by its much older and hopefully wiser creators:   

DANNO KLONOWSKI:  Ahhh, yes…a confusing ass back-up story from issue 3 of MAN-MAN.  Evidently ‘OVERLORD’ got captured in that issue.  Who knew? 

DAN MURPHY:  We must of done “Killing Jest” not long after first meeting–1990 sometime.  You’d given me the first two issues of Man-Man, which blew me away that you done two 30+ page comics. This story was done for the 3rd issue (**scroll to the bottom for issue 3’s cover**), which even had an intro blurb for me on the cover–I’m even in the copyright indicia! 

DANK:  Your name is the credits is all an artist needs to be fulfilled.  It’s true–that’s how Stan rolled with Jack!

MURPHY:   My drawings are pretty horrible, done with cheap pen on really thin paper.

DANK:  PLEASE!  Look at that cover.  It’s 20 years later and I still can’t draw that well.

MURPHY:  Yeeesh, that guy whistling and driving, and people’s limbs shortened by half to fit them in the panel.

DANK:  Any people crammed into panels is totally my bad.  Just look at all those words.  ENTIRE PANELS MADE OF WORDS!

MURPHY:   But I remember enjoying collaborating on it, probably my first collaboration, as you were the only other person I knew that drew comics.

DANK:  Yeah, that probably was the first one–and surely not the last.  It’s actually pretty amazing how prolific we were, even at such a young age.  Make you a deal–you continue to draw my cockamamie tales, and I’ll continue to write them!

   Now before we go, let me remind you all LUTEFISK SUSHI ‘D’ is THIS FRIDAY!!!  So come on down to ALTERED ESTHETICS in Minneapolis and pick up the coolest box of mini-comics you’re going to find anywhere!  Buy some art while you’re there too!  It’s going to be an amazing show!   Speaking of amazing…


Nostalgia file: “MAN-MAN” (part 2 of 2), also: ‘LUTEFISK SUSHI D’ is Friday!!!

   When we last left our hero…aww, who cares…

   So that happened.  In fact, I just kept happening.  Since I did this comic in study hall I was spurred on by Mac Lennox, who was sitting in front of me, wanted to read what I did, and loved it.   So I did a part 2 where MAN-MAN met the inevitable sidekick BOY-BOY (luckily for you those pages haven’t survived the last 20 years in perfect shape and are nearly un-reprintable).  My next step was to then go home and re-draw THE WHOLE ISSUE–which I did in a 4-panel grid style on typing paper.  I even convinced my dad to make a couple of copies and handed them off to friends–including DAN MURPHY who still has his issue with its personally hand-colored cover:

   And after that there was just no stopping me.  I did…lord…maybe about 10 issues of MAN-MAN.  Its greatest weakness however was that I decided it was a PARODY comic, and so whatever I was reading (Batman, New Mutants/X-Force, Spawn) just became part of the mythos of the series.  Not really parody in any true sense of the word.  More like direct rip-offs.  After about a year and a half or so the whole thing ran its course.  I would try now and again in the years that followed (before high school ended, that is) to ‘re-boot’ MAN-MAN (as we saw in the post last week for GNATBOY), but it never stuck.   I even tried re-tooling it a couple of times post-high school as a serious superhero comic (though Man-Man was now called MATCH, and was a typical, thin hero and not a lovable tubby).  The last time I tried it was in 1999 just before I launched STAPLEGENIUS and left those kinds of comics behind forever. 

   So is this the end of MAN-MAN?  Well…yes and no.  YES because I’ve since discovered the name MAN-MAN is by no means original (SHOCKING!), and so even if I had a fire in my belly to do another MAN-MAN comic the legalities alone would stop me dead in my tracks.  And NO because I will post one more short MAN-MAN comic tomorrow that Dan Murphy and I did together–probably our very first collaboration, in fact!


Nostalgia File: “MAN-MAN”(part 1 of 2), also: ‘LSD’ is in 7 days!!!

For separate–but equal!–reasons, longest-time collaborator DAN MURPHY and I have recently both gone thru our ‘Nostalgia Files’ and come across some really great (and some really NOT so great…let’s be honest here) stuff.  So as I kill time leading up to LUTEFISK SUSHI ‘D’ (which is in 7 days!), lets take some trips down memory lane.  Today I present the first half of the original, pencils-only, done on notebook paper in study hall, first issue of MAN-MAN.  If there was anything a 13-year-old me was doing that’s close to equivalent to what a 34-year-old me is doing with MANLY TALES OF COWARDICE, MAN-MAN was it:

   JINKIES!!!! Will MAN-MAN escape the evil clutches of the TWIZLER and SKITTLES?!  Will both DC Comics and the lawyers for ‘Big Candy’ file a lawsuit?!  Tune in Monday and find out!!!


Nostalgia File: “One Dark Nite”, also: ‘LSD’ is in 9 days!

For separate–but equal!–reasons, longest-time collaborator DAN MURPHY and I have recently both gone thru our ‘Nostalgia Files’ and come across some really great (and some really NOT so great…let’s be honest here) stuff.  So as I kill time leading up to LUTEFISK SUSHI ‘D’ (which is in 9 days!), lets take some trips down memory lane.  Today we travel AAAAAALLLLLLLL the way back to 2002 when MATT RISNES and I tried our hand at collaborating on a story.  It was a very dark time for the both of us, and this is what came out of it:

    Aaaaaaannnndddd…..That’s it!  Well, clearly there WAS supposed to be more…but by clearly I mean I have no recollection of having made this story.  That (despite the similar GNATBOY incident of the last post) is pretty rare for me.  I usually remember at least DRAWING something, if I don’t remember the reasoning behind it.  But with this one….???????

    I can tell you this:  At the time it was done Matt’s lady was not only moving out on him, but moving to another state.  I was literally living in the closet of a one bedroom apartment with 2 other people, and more than willing to take up residence in the two-bedroom apartment Matt was sharing with his former lady.  This was going to be FUN!  Matty and Danno!  Living together!  Just like that one other time we did before Matt freaked out and left!  That was FUN!…right?

   Well, a couple DAYS before I was to move in I got FIRED from what was probably the sweetest job a 26 year old stoner could have.  So my shame spiral began…and spun hard.  Matt was in no better of a place.  When asked his thoughts on these pages, Matt replied:

   “My only thought is that it probably isn’t worth sharing.  It seems like the crude, anti-woman Matt of my early 20’s, but I have no recollection of any of that.  Your art looks pretty great though.  Love that last panel!”

  Basically we don’t remember doing this comic because we spent about 2 months enjoying each others company as we destroyed ourselves with alcohol, drugs, and shame.  In that time I did 2 comics.  The one above which Matt co-wrote(? Wrote? Dictated?  Who the hell knows???), and a 20-some page Mullet Clown adventure I ended up hating so much that I never printed it.  Matt would eventually do the freak-out thing again and leave me with a new roommate–A VIOLENT STRANGER, no less!–and we would both eventually recover, grow up, remain friends, and start blogs.  Ahhh, life.



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