Your new comic is called Robot Jungle Girl. First of all,
what is it about (or what's it going to be about, since it's still a work
Well, to comic fans with a deep knowledge of obscure silver age comics
I can simply explain it by saying it is the American Gold
Key comic Mighty Samson retooled for a female lead and told in a
Brothers of the Spear format. However, that will be lost on most
people, so let me get into a little comic history as a way of explaining
I was born in 1960 in Minneapolis, Minnesota ( the U.S. City
featured in the '80s movie Purple Rain, and yes that is a real club, yes
I've been there, and yes I have seen Prince) and got interested in
comics at the hieght of the Silver Age. This was when Jack Kirby
and Stan Lee were reinventing superheros over at Marvel and
buzzing with hot unique comics like Metamorpho, Doom Patrol,
Metal Men etc. But I managed to ignore the big two publishers having a real
preference for the monsters and science fiction of the third publisher Dell/Gold
Gold Key is probably best remembered for it's long running Star
Trek comic, the scifi classic Magnus, Robot Fighter and the Native
American Indians vs Dinosaurs-comic Turok Son of Stone. Gold Key
also owned the Tarzan-rights at the time and created an excellent
spin-off companion strip Korak Son of Tarzan. Brothers of the
Spear was a long running serial backup feature in the Dell/Gold
comics about two 'brothers' one white, one black, bonded by their
warriors oath to "the spear" and on some kind of endless
jungle quest. So that's the format - serialized jungle
fantasy/adventure. I loved the Brothers of the Spear but could
never get comics regularily enough to follow the story in serial format.
It was only years later when the stories were collected into their own
comics that I was able to read complete stories. Mighty Samson which
is about to be collected into nice hardocovers by Dark Horse Comics, was
my favorite comic as a kid. I only had two issues in my little
stack of original comics, and I worshiped those issues, reading them
over and over. In this post apocalyptic future, the city
"N'yark" ( New York) is a ruins of half destroyed skyscrapers
overgrown with mutant radioactive jungle. A scientist and his
lovely daughter emerge from their shelter to find every kind of bizzare
creature artist Frank Thorne could dream up, like the Gorillasaur
- top half fanged grrilla, bottom half dinosaur.
Luckily, the biggest, baddest caveman on the block - a one eyed blond
brute in a red fur toga (and matching eyepatch) named Samson takes an
interest in the scientists daughter and protects them from all comers.
What impressed me as kid is the same thing that I
love about this comic as an adult. The 'wide-open' nature of the
scenario. They had a catch-all expanation for everything:
Radiation. There's no logical reason why radiation would create
giant vampire bats, or a sea creature that looks like a centipede, or
man-eating plants or winged people or 4 armed monkeys or any of the
things Frank Throne and the writer cooked up. As a reader, you
simply had to accept that this is a place where anything can happen and
there is not going to be a lot of tortured explanation for any of it.
Very few comics give the creators this much freedom to create.
Jack Kirby's Kamandi, Last Boy on Earth is another one, and another
favorite of mine, incidently. So this is what I set out to
create, a wide open scenario, a background of mutant jungle and ruins
where superheroes, dinosaurs, robots, aliens, monsters and anything else
I can dream up can all play together.
Robot Jungle Girl
Some of the backstory ties in with the 'adult'
( smut/porno/underground...) Crimson
Gash comics I did for antagraphics
Comics. Because Adolf Hitler escaped from Hell and
nuked our sister city of St. Paul in the comic The Crimson Gash vs
Hitler, the 'lost city' of St. Paul is now a ruin. Because the
nuke used was created with "Hellmagik", Hellmagik
radiation has caused the explosive jungle growth, dinosaurs and unique
creatures. The Robot Jungle Girl was introduced in a short story
in Blowjob # 18. Her boyfriend, The Radioactive Kid (a Crimson
Gash-regular) was introduced to her in the same story. The Robot Jungle
Girl at this time remains a mystery--her origin is in her memory, but she
lacks the 12 digit passcode to unlock it.
You have conceived Robot Jungle Girl
as a webcomic. Please do give us the link, and why have you chosen the
internet as a medium to publish this one?
Gladly! Come over to http://robotjunglegirl.blogspot.com.
I'll have a new chapter every month or so for the forseeable future.
Why the web? I'm really not a computer guy, and it is something I
resisted somewhat. I much prefer just to fedex my pages into a
publisher and let them deal with the business end. But the big
American comic distributer Diamond Comics has severely cut
back the number of small press items they are handling and have basically
stopped carrying independent small publishers. Many small
distributers are trying to fill the void, but for now trying to get good
coverage to American comic shops without Diamond is an uphill battle.
And I feel I am too old to waste a lot of time pitching my ideas to
publishers. So I decided just to create the comic I wanted to
create and put it out there. I firmly believe that over time, I
will be able to build an audience for the book and I will not even think
about making a nickle off this strip until a large readership is there
At that point, I can look at doing a book collection, a tee-shirt,
coffeemug, or whatever. But reading the current adventures of the
comic will always be free to all.
Do you make a
difference drawing for the web as opposed to drawing for a traditional
I draw it the exact same way, but I think it reads a little different on
the web. Turning an actual page gives you more of glimpse ahead
than scrolling down a page you just enlarged, so there is potential for
more surprise on the computer, which is a good thing.
On the other hand, 2 page spreads are pretty much out of the question,
which is a minor bad thing, but one I can live with.
What were your inspirations for Robot Jungle Girl?
Aside from the aforementioned Gold Key comics, the classic '40s and
'50s jungle girls, Sheena,
Rulah, Lorna etc. which I really only became
aware of as an adult fan. Also a large number of 'tough chick'
films, especially the sexploitation films of Russ Meyer and the 'black
action' films of Pam Grier. The Amazonian ass-kicking vixen has
always been a favorite B-movie character of mine.
comic has an 8-page "eat and be eaten"-prologue. Would you like
to elaborate on this for a bit?
Well, it's basically just the
old cartoon gag of fish eaten by bigger fish, then a bigger fish, then a
shark, whale, etc. The goal was to do a lot of wild visuals and
establish the sceanario of this being a place where anything can and does
From the second chapter on, Space Ponies play a big part in Robot
Jungle Girl. Now how on earth did you come up with these?
The Space Ponies are intrepid alien explorers, spacewrecked in the
jungle. They are actually based on a sketch that I did in the margin
of a church handout while fighting boredom at some church function with my
family. They will play prominently in the first storyline, tagging
along and commenting on the strange things our heroes do. After that,
I don't know if they will be rescued, retire to a treehouse in the jungle
or stick around for the next storyline - one'll just have to see when the
time comes. They are basically comic relief and plot exposition, so if
they are good in that role they may continue one. I do plan to have
a large cast of characters that come and go throughout the comic's run.
years of drawing mostly adult comics, Robot Jungle Girl is a return
for you to more family-friendly entertainment. Why, and was it hard to
leave adult comics behind (or is this just a stupid question)?
a stupid question at all. I loved doing adult comics, primarily I
loved the wide open freedom of them (kind of a thing with me...). I didn't set out to 'leave' adult
comics - the American adult comics
industry fell apart under my feet, and I had no choice but to look
elsewhere. Fantagraphics (under their Eros Comix imprint) was the big American publisher of adult comics, and I left
when the editor told me over the phone that they were cancelling all their
remaining adult titles as soon as they used up the pages they had already
committed to. They still reprint books from their back inventory and
I know they still occasionally issue a new comic for a particular adult
artist who has a long relationship with them, but otherwise they are out
of the adult comic business. So I ran straight to Carnal
which is now run by Steve Crompton [Steve
Crompton interview - click here], the creator of Demi
the Demoness. Me and Steve did a great comic together, The
Crimson Gash vs Satan, put it
out there and were underwhelmed by the lack of response from buyers.
Steve is a great guy, who I would like to work with more, but the bottom
line is Carnal
Comics is having trouble selling everything but the core Demi
the Demoness title and their Adult Film Star Bio. series.
comic market in America was beginning to swirl down the toilet just as I
came into it is complicated. In part it has to do with comics never
really being respected in America as an adult medium. In part it has
to do with Fantagraphics taking the market for granted and mismanaging their
position. Fantagraphics published the Comics Journal and never
bothered to use the Comics Journal to review (much less write about in
any serious way) adult comics. The website for the Eros
imprint was a trainwreck of neglect. The "New Releases"
listed on the front page of the site never changed in the 4 years I worked
for them. Actual new releases were added as a line of text while the
outdated pictures of the old "new releases" gave anyone checking
back on the site the impression that nothing new had been published.
At one point I tried to search the Eros website for Sandez Rey and was
told by that I had done 2 stories. At the time I had done 12 + two of them had my pen name misspelled, and EIGHT more issues did NOT
If I had started with a more stable company
(Fantagraphics almost went out of business the second year I worked there
and had to send a begging letter around to comics shops pleading for them
to stock up on Fantagraphics back catalog of books) like NBM in Europe I
would probably be happily drawing cumshots to this day.
you eventually return to the world of adult comics at all?
would not rule it out. I would love to see a few more Crimson
Gash adventures. But the money would have to be right.
both your "all ages" and your adult comics, your style seems to
be very much influenced by golden age comicbooks. Would you like to
elaborate on that for a bit, and your favourites from that era of comics?
Cole's Plasticman is probably my favorite superhero comic overall.
I'm a big fan of the Simon & Kirby stuff. I think the recent
reprinting of Simon & Kirby's Sandman and Newsboy Legion
fans that these guys were even more advanced than they get credit for. The
golden age Sandman may be the best overall combination of story and art of
any superhero of that era.
some Lovecraftean traits can be found in almost all of your stories. A few
words about H.P.Lovecraft's influence on your work?
the '70s the complete works of Lovecraft were out in
paperback, and I read it all, at about the age of 14 to 15. That kind of
powerful storytelling, at that age, left an indelible mark on my brain. I like to work in a reference or two where I can.
then there's of course your own, weird, over the top brand of humour. How
would you describe your brand of humour, and what are your influences,
There was a local TV station that used to have
an old movie show called Comedy and Classics.
Through that show I learned about Laurel and
Hardy, W.C. Fields, Abbott and
Costello and especially the Marx
Brothers. I lived for any Marx
Brothers movie. Duck
Soup is to me the perfect comedy. It is
the comedy of anarchy, and that is what I like best. I also like
'dark' comedy, probably because I've seen a lot of dark things in my life,
starting with my parents nasty divorce, working an adult job at the age of
12, dropping out of school and getting involved with self destructive drug
use. (I still drink and 'smoke' - but I don't do it in a self
destructive way anymore. At least that's the goal!) So
when I comes to modern comedy I like films like Repo
Man, The Big
Lebowski, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? Really anything by the Coen
Any other influences on your work you'd
like to mention?
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention
music! As a teenager in the 70s I was part of the first wave of PUNK
rock. Yes, I saw the Ramones when they toured for Rocket to Russia with the Runaways as a warm up band, and twice more. I saw Iggy
Pop tour for Lust for Life and 4 more times. etc. etc. etc! But
it was the local bands - Suicide Commandos, The Suberbs, the Hypstrz,
the Mighty Mofos, and many more - and the local club scene at Jays Longhorn
Saloon, Kellys Pub and later at First Avenue that had a deep
influence on my outlook. If I had to pick just one single word to
describe my art the word would be "Psychotronic" and if I
couldn't use that word, my choice would be "Punk".
Let's return to your golden
age-influences once more: For your story The Enchanted Dagger Meets
Incomprehensible Girl, you use a handful of actual golden age
characters, Enchanted Dagger, Dolly O'Dare, girl detective,
and Baron Blue, by now all in public domain. What can you tell us
about these characters' appeal to you?
The Enchanted Dagger
I love the sheer
"off the cuff" quality of a guy like the Enchanted Dagger,
whose one story dosn't explain anything about his origin or the dagger. Baron Blue was just a crook in a top hat and tails. He had no
special powers - but he wore a Top Hat! and his gang seemed impressed
by that. I love to breath just a little more life into a dead and
forgotten character, I suppose because I love comics.
Dagger Meets Incomprehensible Girl also features a character called Sheriff
Judy, of course a hommage to actress Judy Canova. What can you tell us
about the actress and your fascination with her?
There is a
two page Bio of Judy Canova in the back of my Sandez Rey vs Reality
book. First, I like Judy Canova on her own merits, I think she's
funny, talented and she lights up the screen with charm and charisma. Second I am fascinated by the fact that Judy Canova was a huge
as recently as the 1950's and yet is forgotten today.
Incomprehenisble Girl explaining
from these characters, The Enchanted Dagger Meets Incomprehensible Girl
of course also features the titular Incomprehensible Girl, a very
typical weird creation of yours. A few words about her?
I loved the name the moment I thought of it. All girls have
always been a little incomprehensible to me, as they are to most men.
The idea was to have a character like the little bird
"Woodstock" in the Peanuts comic strip. Woodstock speaks
in little "birdtalk" dashes, which the reader can't understand -
but Snoopys reaction gives you the gist of it. Suppose an
alien couldn't speak any earth language - which is likely. That
leaves the reader and the other story characters in the same spot of
trying to figure out what the devil she is up to. To me that
situation has a lot of comic potential still untapped, and the
Incomprehensible Girl may well be a guest in the Robot Jungle Girl
universe at some future point.
The Enchanted Dagger Meets Incomprehensible Girl has been
published in the collection Sandez Rey vs Reality. A few words
about that book and the other stories in it?
I did 3 issues of a comic called The Minneapolis Free Comic which was
paid for with local ads and distributed in free racks here in Minneapolis
& St. Paul. I've long felt that the fantasy adventure about
Santa Claus trying to return the stolen moon, which was the first issue of
the Free Comic, is among my best stories. Likewise, the downbeat World
War Wrestling story from issue 3 was also a favorite.
After escaping from the burning bridge of American adult comics, I wanted
to put some of my best pre-adult stories back into print for readers
outside of the local area and also collect the best of my unpublished
pre-adult work. To anyone who dosn't live in my hometown or across
the river this book is 100% new. It is 100 pages with only 2 pages
of text and includes a nice Cthulhu as a giant monster piece which is
pretty much 8 pages of non-stop destruction and tries to bridge the
differences between a Lovecraft story and a Godzilla movie. Other
stories include The Tree which is a tribute to both Woozy Winks (Plasticman's sidekick) and Mr. Crime from
Crime Does Not Pay. Tibetan Torture Chamber is a violent screed in which two low level
servants of the Gods of Chinese folklore bust some Buddist monks out of
Commie Hellhole, and Run, Ginger Run is a purely goofy story about Leopard
Girl chasing "The Gingerbread Man" around the world to end his
sugary reign of terror. I'm really proud of this book, I think it
has a very entertaining balence of stories and is a good introduction to
who I am. And the bio of Judy Canova is the most complete you will
find anywhere - I did a lot of research and pulled together many facts left
out of other bios of her!
Dollar question is of course: Where is Sandez Rey vs Reality
My friend Steve Crompton [Steve
Crompton interview - click here], who was kind
enough to take on the task of coloring the cover and doing all the
prepress work has it listed on Amazon. Otherwise, the quick and easy
way is to order direct from me, through my friend Jay. $10 American
for USA orders, $12 for anywhere else. Just write Jay Naylor, 3130
Bloomington Ave. Mpls. MN. 55407 (U.S.A.) Make sure your full
address with postal code or number is included.
Any other comicbooks you have published
recently you'd like to talk about?
For the time being, all my creative energies are going into http://robotjunglegirl.blogspot.com.
Any future projects?
Funny you should ask, I am just now today, turning down a paying job to do an
educational comic for a school system here in Minnesota. So, at this time,
no. I want to know what happens next to the Space Ponies!
Feeling lucky ?
Want to search for books by
The links below
will take you
just there !!!
else you are dying to mention I have just forgotten to ask?
20th Century Boys 1 and can't wait to see what happens in # 2
for the interview!
thank you my friend. I have to say that of all the people I have
ever met, you know more about obscure movies than anyone I know except for
one person. I respect that! I used to say that any comics
editor who gave me work was a genius. I have since found out that
many of them were more like idiot savants - profoundly right about one
thing, clueless about everything else! Yet I still firmly believe
that anyone who appreciates my comics IS a genius. In the words of
Stan Laurel, "That's my story and I'm stuck with it."