If Henry Rollins & Glenn Danzig Were Lovers: Art Show Imagines The Possibilities
A show opening at La Luz de Jesus in Hollywood Friday celebrates the launch of a new book Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever, featuring artwork from the cult zine as well as contributions from new artists. Tom Neely and the other members of artist collective Igloo Collective were sitting around drinking, doodling on bar napkins, when it was suggested by fellow artist Gin Stevens that there should be some kind of Tom of Finland-esque series revolving around Black Flag's Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig. It makes sense, when you think about it. The gauntlets, the leather pants, the muscles. The not-so-subtleties of Judas Priest tracks like "Jawbreaker."
So, Neely and the other collective members—Steven, Scot Nobles and Levon Jihanian—started making zines following the ups and downs of a Danzig/Rollins romance.
"It was just a dumb thing," Neely said, "but then Microcosm Publishing saw the zine we made and wanted to turn it into a book, so we expanded on it and then in 2010, and it became a hit."
Neely says the book was initially more popular with alternative music fans than comic book lovers, but they've managed to sell about 100,000 copies so far. Neely also does a lot of conventions and meets people who want to contribute frequently, which he encourages.
And that's how this new book, Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever by Tom Neely & Friends, contains about 60 such friends, all contributing their varying styles and stories to the robust H&G canon. All in all, the book contain over 200 pages of story, and several additional full-color mock covers that pay tribute to Love & Rockets and other well-known comics. The foreword comes from Judas Priest's Rob Halford (sort of).
The plot is relatively simple. Glenn Danzig is a volatile hothead, Henry Rollins in a patient, nurturing lover. The two live together with their cats and have standard relationship problems: Glenn forgets the kitty litter, Glenn has issues with his mother, Henry wants to eat organic foods.They live next door to Daryl Hall and John Oates, two sage, pot-smoking Satanists. Neely said that rumors had once circulated about Hall & Oates being Satanists, probably because of Hall's interest in the occult and the revelation that his great-great-grandfather was a warlock.
Throughout the comic, the duo runs into other metal icons: Halford works in an BDSM sex shop, Lemmy from Motorhead is hanging out at Jumbo's Clown Room, they run into KISS and Rob Zombie at a karaoke night at Footsie's. The metal jokes are cheesy, but fun (at one point, they're all dressing up like various era versions of Iron Maiden's Eddie), and the relationship is oddly endearing.
The real-life Henry and Glenn aren't necessarily fans of the series. While Rollins will sign copies of the comic and has said in interviews that he respects freedom of speech, Danzig isn't too keen on the comics—which led to another comic.
"My friend J. Bennett writes for Decibel Magazine and was interviewing Danzig when the original [Henry and Glenn] book came out so I signed and gift wrapped a copy to give to him," Neely said.
Danzig's reaction was not positive, which led to a comic called 'The Final Blow,' which is the last page of the new book.
There are other works by Neely that are vastly different from the whimsical, tongue-in-cheek Henry & Glenn. The Wolf is a "surrealist horror" that tells a wordless love story via disturbing, yet beautiful illustration. The Blot, Neely's first graphic novel, is about a man who is pursued by an inky, black splotch. He is also working on a new series about an ape biker gang from Bakersfield called The Humans with author Keenan Marshall Keller for for Image Comics.
But for this show, expect lots of Henry & Glenn, but DJs spinning metal and punk all night. On display will be several large panels from Neely and other contributing artists, and the book will be for sale, with some artists on hand for signing.
How Many Artists Does It Take To Screw Henry & Glenn runs from October 3 to November 2 at La Luz de Jesus, 4633 Hollywood Blvd., East Hollywood.