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Indie Insights: Hero Worship

Written by Ken Eppstein on Friday, April 15 2011 and posted in Columns

Ken Eppstein returns to talk about comics, music and more in his latest intstallment of Indy Insights!

eppsteinKen Eppstein is the editor, writer and publisher of the independent comic Nix Comics Quarterly, a small press anthology. 

Fair warning.  This is a 100% fanboy themed essay, but about 75% is music oriented and only 25% comic related.  If you're a purist and only want to read about comic books on your comics blog, check out this interview of Daniel Corey of his upcoming Morarity comic.  I won't be offended... I won't order fish at a burger place, myself.

Still with me? Ride 'em cowboy!  I'll try not to disappoint.  

Last week was a banner week for this comics and music Fanboy.  

On the comics side of things: Kicking around on twitter, I noticed that Mike Allred and Gail Simone had mentioned that they liked the return of letters pages to comic books.  As it dovetailed nicely with my last article and Diamond's opinion of my letters pages, I replied to them with a  link.  He retweeted that it was a "sharp piece!"  How cool!  It made me feel like a third grader who got a gold star from his favorite art teacher.  Tack that puppy up on the fridge!

On the music side, I went to go see the Fleshtones...  Long a favorite band of mine...  and they were not only kind enough to let me take their pictures reading copies of Nix, but posted a link to the pics on their official Facebook page a couple days later.  Forget the analogies to school boy pride, this was more like the gods came down from Olympus and joined my teenage dance party.

Questions class?  

"Is this guy done name dropping yet?"  

"How much play does he really expect from a couple of minor Internet shout outs?"  

Excellent questions!  No, I'm not quite yet done name dropping and really I only hope to hold your interest for a few more paragraphs.
Here's the deal:  I feel lucky.  That kind of hero worship thing can go horribly wrong.

There's a fun passage in my friend Eric Davidson's book "We Never Learn" where he interviews cult garage punk artist Billy Childish, and they talk briefly about Jack White.  (Of White Stripes fame.)   

I don't know if you guys are hip to Billy Childish and his 40 year body of work, but his records are to modern garage rockers what Slim Harpo and Muddy Waters records were to the Beatles and Rolling Stones.  Childish and his multitudinous bands (The Pop Rivets, The Mikshakes, Thee Mighty Caesars, Thee Headcoats, et. al.) provided a set of blueprints for how to put together a modern loud and raucous garage band.  White definitely used that blueprint to build his successful career.  Successful being an understatement, as any member of the venerable Detroit garage rock scene who hasn't been featured in a documentary with Jimmy Page and The Edge will attest.

One of the things to Jack White's credit is that he seems to be a "All Boats Rise With the Tide" kind of guy when it comes to his influences.  What he has done recently for Wanda Jackson's career is nothing short of remarkable, succeeding in raising her public profile by an order of magnitude.  To put it in perspective, Elvis Costello has been campaigning and failing to do exactly that for years.  Now... White probably could have done it with a much lighter touch on the instrumentation and production values, but that's another story. What I'm trying to say is that Jack White reaches out to his personal pantheon of heroes and makes offerings on an altar of love, just like I do.

In Billy Childish's case, however, I gather the love was rebuffed.   Childish apparently is not a fan of the White Stripes and said as much.  I assume in a typically churlish fashion.  Whoops!  It must be a real drag to bust through to the mainstream only to realize that your favorite iconoclast sees no difference between you and say... Kenny G...  (To be fair, its what iconoclasts do.)

So my point is that I'm significantly cooler than Jack White because I have the adoration of my heroes.  

No. Wait. That's not it.  The real point is that you'll have to excuse me if I want to brag a little on my little fanboy coups.  I could just as easily been smote by those Olympians and cast down the mountain into a thorn bush.  Scarred, crippled and blinded for life thanks to my hubris.  

Hey... It happened to Bellerophon.

And Jack White.

If you're interested in reading Nix Comics Quarterly #1, click here for a black and white copy.  A review of the comic can be found here.  Issue #2 hits shelves today.  If you'd like a copy, copies can be found at any of the stores listed here or contact Ken at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Written or Contributed by: Ken Eppstein

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