If you haven’t already read Henry & Glen Forever & Ever, you’re going to want to hit your local comic book store to try and find this weird little indie book, because there hasn’t been such a compellingly silly pairing since Oscar and Felix in the Odd Couple. Fantastic, diverse pin-ups and stories pack the black and white pages, painting a vivid portrait of a disturbingly believable neighborhood.
On Friday night I went to my first comic book event party since I moved to Los Angeles. Knowing that there would be art from the book on display by Ed Luce (who’s work I already know from San Francisco) made me feel that this would be a good maiden voyage, and the fact that it was at the super laid back atmosphere of Silverlake’s Secret Headquarters didn’t hurt either. Getting there a good hour into the proceedings, I was impressed by the turnout. Diverse, talkative little clusters of people filled the cosy store, and the warm wood decor and organically scattered bookshelves helped to create a comfortable atmosphere for the radically funny little comic book being released. If you’re interested, I posted a few photos I took at the event here.
A product of the Igloo Tornado art collective (who’s website must be seen, if only for their centaur-tastic self-portrait), Henry & Glenn Forever (their first book) is a mixtape of crazy ideas, simply a series of one page jokes. Providing an introduction to an alternate reality where Henry Rollins & Glenn Danzig are bestest friends and roomies, hints are made about their satan-worshipping neighbors; Hall & Oats, and in general, their world seems to be pretty delightful. A excellent appropriation of characters, it becomes a sort of modern, American, hardcore punk League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, with Glen and Henry cast in the style of a Laurel and Hardy or Abbot and Costello pairing. Jumping forward, the next evolution is Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever #1 (which hints that this could be a series, which I support fully.) This is a more structured book than the first, with three main stories and a gallery in the back with fantastic drawings by guest artists like Coop.
In the first story, Tom Neely elaborates on the world he began to sketch in the first book, with an adorable story about the frustrations of a neat freak (Henry) and his irresponsible partner (Glenn), with strong overtones of old Richie Rich type comic books, this feels the most like it could be an ongoing series. I realize that sounds silly, since it’s just a joke book, but I would buy this as a monthly comic. Neely gives Henry and Glen more friends, going for spa days with their punk rock friends, recording bad songs which aren’t metal enough, being taunted by Lou Reed, and of course, being supported by their satanic neighbors Hall and Oates.
Benjamin Marra follows with a story straight out of Napoleon Dynamite (not literally, but it has that surreal, ludicrously dorky, Heavy-Metal-drawn-by-a-teenager feel.) In this story, our heroes go camping in order to bond (there is no scenario that cannot be made more entertaining by their friendship), but are abducted by a satanic cult led by “Leta Fjord” who is (of course) flanked by her acolytes Hall and Oates. This story is another crazy cultural mix that has too many references to mention.
Finally Ed Luce creates a comic about the emotion fallout of the comic book in Henry and Glen’s life. The oddly well-observed scenario is that Henry and Glen were so thrown by the first comic book about them, that they went to see a couples counselor. While the couples counselor gives exactly the kind of serious and useful advice that you’d expect, it is the couple’s responses that bring out the fantastic humor of their lives. The mixture of a very adult situation and their surreal, ridiculous pairing is fantastic, only improved by the introduction of their satanic (of course) cat. Luce’s unique world view and ability to create believably childish adults is always entertaining. In Henry and Glenn’s world, his affection and love for them makes this a weirdly believable little interlude, and a perfect ending to the book.
The adventures of these marvelously mismatched friends is so damn entertaining, I can almost see it as a Saturday morning cartoon. This is a little comic book everyone will want to own, to read whenever a smile is needed, then to show to friends so that they can crack up too. There ought to be a copy of this in the bedside table in hotels next to the bible, so that people can have a giggle when they can’t sleep in a strange city. It’s that kind of funny, like hanging out with friends kind of funny. Because the two of them are so cute and silly, and how often can you say that about Glenn Danzig and Henry Rollins?