Welcome to the web log of illustrator, cartoonist, writer, motorhead, and future Wal-Mart greeter Lou Brooks. I've gone cold turkey blogless for the last few months, and let me tell you, friend, it hasn't been easy! Have you missed all your old familiar pals?... Balloon Face, Typositor Tom, Mr. Irresponsible, and those endearing rascals, The Ass Puppets? Well, to be honest, they're not here, and they're never coming back. But lots of others are just waiting to make all this worth your while, so let's get going! Shall we?

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot... check out my newest Internet brainchild, The Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies, where tools of the trade that have died or have just about died a slow death are cheerfully exhibited -- Over 300 of them and counting (all submitted by folks like you!).

 

Labor Day, September 5, 1944. I remember the day I was born. I suddenly noticed there was a lot more room, which was nice. There was a radio on. Then a man in the room said, "Jesus Christ, that nurse talks too much!" That would have been my father. I didn't know who this Christ guy was, but as life went on, my father brought his name up a lot. My mother would occasionally call out, "Jesus Jenny!" I have no idea who that was either. August 6, 1945. Things had been going pretty swell. Then there was this sadness, and everybody seemed to get real quiet. Beginning that day, the world seemed different. Like I was put in exile or sumthin' for no reason. April 27, 1962. My father still wouldn't give me permission to smoke in the house. I told him in the kitchen that I wanted to spend my life as an artist. He smoked Camels and blew out one of those quick sarcastic smoke puffs, you know, the kind they blow out the side of their mouth and it makes their one eye squint and gives them this really scary half-grin besides. "What are you gonna paint," he said, "FLOWERS?"

 

Let's get down to... MONKEY BUSINESS!

Courtesy Grand Comics Database www.comics.org

Check out Lou's book of tongue-twisting limerick madness for kids of all ages! Visit the Twimericks website now or die!

Saturday
Oct012011

Lou's Postcard Collection - #1

No big secret that this guy was around long before MAD Magazine, he just didn't go by "Alfred E." yet. But the "Hello Folks!" card on the right just floors me. A bit close to Tod Browning.

Even though I'm not sure if many people send "wish you were here" postcards anymore, I've never been able to go by a postcard rack or souvenir stand without looking. Not ever. I thought I'd share some with you, and here's the first installment.

For about a decade and a half, we lived in Hell's Kitchen behind Times Square when there was still enough cheap thrills left there to satisfy a restless boy. There was a big arcade on Broadway at 52nd Street. It had this great smell of cheap electronics, and there must have been a hundred machines in there all going at once. No bells or beeps, just a roar. I can't remember exactly how many umbrellas were stolen from me while I was busy in there with Donkey Kong on late rainy nights. You can't play pinball and hold your umbrella.

The windows were piled with jokes, magic tricks, ventriloquist dummies, phony i.d. cards, and a ton of "I heart NY" stuff -- all faded till you could hardly make out any colored ink at all. One time when Kenny Kneitel and I were having a few drinks nearby at the Mardi Gras Topless, he remembered that when he was a kid, there was an artist sitting in one of the arcade windows, hand-painting hula dancer neckties for the tourists.

Down in the basement, there was a pool hall for the serious sharks, but up front on the way out was this novelty counter. Sometimes the guy would have a magic trick to show me and once in a while I'd buy it, but there was this postcard floor rack that hadn't been touched much for at least thirty years. That's where these two are from. Copyright 1941. None of them were more than a dime, a bargain even in the late '70s. I bought the whole lot, so don't go looking for more of them. Don't look for the arcade either. It died along with everything else.

 

Monday
Sep192011

Attack of the Giant Buttocks People - Part 2

Dr, Ginger Baker had shamelessly been stripped down to her bra and underpants — the ones I had given her from the Sears & Roebuck catalog.

“We’ve got to stop those repulsive giant buttocks creatures, Crash!” she cried out. “With them, Jablomey means to rule the world!”

Jablomey doubled over, laughing. “You expect me to take over the world with them? They’re the poorest excuse for scary monsters I’ve ever seen!”

“What do you expect from a busload of American tourists!” I said.

“American tourists?” he laughed. “I’m afraid it’s much worse than that — they’re from Los Angeles!”

As he ranted on, I couldn’t help but notice Ginger as she struggled. Her ample firm breasts strained at the ropes as she arched her back in defiance, twisting this way and that, causing the fabric of her flimsy Sears & Roebuck panties to stretch significantly. I suddenly felt I needed to take a good, long, slow look at her. I didn’t want to endanger her in any way. This was not a time to rush, and I forced myself for quite a while to watch her try to wriggle from the taut ropes that bound her. I kept telling myself, “Be careful! Take your time, Cory!”

Good Lord, could it be that a certain stirring in my loins seemed to perhaps be loosening my bonds? Yes! As I squirmed in my chair, my bonds were loosening!

“Crash, be careful!” Ginger screamed, as I sprang from the chair. My fist caught the madman square on the jaw, sending him staggering backward toward the pit. As he fell to the floor, he flashed the cold steel of a .45 automatic.  I was on top of him — one hand at his throat, the other grappling for the gun. If one of us was going for a swim, it wasn’t going to be me.  He wrestled his way toward the rope that held Ginger, determined to send her plunging to her fate.

The desert had made him agile and wiry. He landed a good kick to my ribs, sending us both sprawling while the gun spun wildly across the floor toward the pit. We both lunged for it, but I got there first and found myself clamoring to my feet with the gun aimed right between the Swami’s eyes.      

“Don’t shoot!” he cried.

“If you’re looking for sympathy, Jablomey, you’ll find it in the dictionary between ‘shit’ and ‘syphilis!’ We’re going to get Doctor Baker down from there, then you’re going out that door with us!”

He laughed crazily. “Nobody’s going through that door,” he said.

“Glad you think so!”

“I’ve got the door mechanism rigged so the whole floor will open up. There’s enough of an ever-expanding radioactive spring under this floor to turn us all into permanent assholes.” He noticed my glance toward poor Ginger. “Including Doctor Baker! So, go right ahead, Cory — unless you’d rather me do it!” He carefully gestured toward the door.

“Get back, you crazy fool!” I shouted, cocking the automatic. “Don’t be ridiculous!  After what you just said, what dim-witted, feebleminded, moronic idiot would ever want to walk through that door?”

There was a heavy noise from the door itself, as if it wanted to explode, as if somebody was trying to break it down.

“No! Stop!” I yelled. Jablomey twirled himself about, laughing even harder than before.

The door crashed into splinters. Colonel Saunders, his Thompson jammed against his thigh, straddled what was left of the frame, rubbing his shoulder. His men piled in behind him.

“We finally got those big-assed motherfuckers under control. A little air power was all we needed,” he said, spitting the last half inch of his live stogie to the floor. “Looks like you need some help in here. In the name of Nebraska, what the--!”

The floor began to shift and rumble, like someone was slowly pulling a carpet out from under us. The entire room started to cave toward the pit in the center, and we all braced ourselves, struggling against our grisly destiny. I watched in horror as several of the Colonel’s men were sucked screaming into the angry pit. As Jablomey’s eyes burned into mine, he clutched at passing furniture. Then he was gone, swallowed up by the steaming green slime.

More soldiers poured through what once was the door, sweeping Sanders along with them while his Thompson fired wildly into the air. The pit must have them, and it swished them around like a toilet at a Bavarian knockwurst bakeoff — faster and faster, widening its spinning quagmire every second.

“God help us!” Sanders cried out, as he went under for the last time.

As the slime kept rising, Ginger’s rope seemed to slowly lower her like a fishing worm. There was no time left. The building was coming down all around us. I hurled myself toward the pit, leaping the whirling abyss onto the rope that held her.

“Hold on, I’ll try to get you untied and see if we can climb up to the top!” I hollered, although our faces were inches apart. The rope began to stretch.

“It can’t hold the two of us, Crash!”

“Sure it can!  don’t panic!”

Then the rope snapped, sending us both down into the oozing maelstrom.

______________

It was a crisp sunny spring morning in the sleepy little California desert town of Vista Nada. Out on the front porch of our modest ranch-style house, my wife, Ginger, gave me the customary peck on the cheek — always the right one for luck.

“Have a wonderful day at the office, dear,” she smiled. “I’ll have dinner ready for you when you get back.”

I patted the kids on top of where their heads should have been. Soon it would be summer — time for vacation and Little League. Gee whiz, they were getting big now. It seemed like not that long ago that they were only twenty-five feet high at the most. I used to mark it on the kitchen door frame. Now, Bud and Kathy seemed almost as tall as their mother. I chuckled to myself. How quickly they grow up. It wouldn’t be long before Bud would be the big butt of the family, I guess.

“Good morning, Colonel,” I beamed, as Colonel Sanders wobbled down from his two-story colonial across the street to meet me at the curb. “Ready to take over the world today?”  

“I’m game if you are, Doctor Cory. Looks like it’s going to be a pretty nice day. What say we walk to work?”

“Sounds great,” I replied, as we were joined by our fellow buttocks people. Conversation was light-hearted and cheerful that day. Life was good. We rocked slowly side to side as we marched along the street — like walking potatoes with no pants.

THE END

 

Attack of the Giant Buttocks People is written and illustrated by Lou Brooks, and was originally published in BLAB! No. 11, as well as on Lou's original blog on Drawger.com. © Lou Brooks. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Sep182011

The Art of Influence

Art used for the two-page opener.

Here's a gaggle of illos. for the latest issue of Psychology Today for an interesting feature entitled "The Art of Influence," which, after I read the ms. a few times, roughly translated as "How to Use People to Get What You Want." Looking back, I could have used the advice a lot of times. It's a jungle out there, and most of my life has been spent trying not to be eaten alive, so I guess I never got as far as mastering the art of manipulation. Shame on me.

Complete illustration with the title art in place. I needed a fairly handsome example of wood for the artist palette, and ended up disassembling the front of my drawing desk at 3 in the morning so it would fit on my flatbed scanner.

Even though I sadly wasn't one of them, the author used several people as shining examples of such mastery. To me, best of the lot was Steve Jobs, CEO and cofounder of Apple, and I'll admit he's one of my guilty pleasures. It would almost certainly be a Mac-less world by now if not for him. I'm most impressed—being a survivor myself—that he's done all that he's done while fighting for his life against the Big C. When you look at it all, what's not to like about a guy who fires assholes in elevators and reams out salespeople in front of everybody?

Shown below are three 1/3-pagers that were done by me as part of the project. A big thanks to CD Ed Levine for the assignment.

 

Mini-Bonus: The editors elected to run my bio in the same issue. Editor Michele Hirsch is probably the first to nail me exactly right in so few words:

"... you might think his hero is Warhol. But it's illustrators of 1950s comics that got him revved up to draw. That was the golden age of [newspaper comic strips], he says, when artists made something new every day. 'Can DaVinci do that? No. Can Michelangelo do that? No. But you know, the guy who drew Winnie Winkle could.' With blue-collar roots and no formal art education, Brooks is both proud of and at odds with his success. He's drawn covers for Time and Newsweek—and redesigned the iconic Monopoly man."

Two panels from Winnie Winkle, a daily and Sunday newspaper strip that Martin Branner wrote and drew for over 40 years. It was one of the first strips to feature an independent working woman. By the late '50s, Winnie had worked her way up to founder and president of Bonnaz Fashions. To me, Branner's earlier style here is sort of the Ernie Bushmiller twin planet.

 

Friday
Sep092011

Attack of the Giant Buttocks People - Part 1

esus H. Christ, get that sonofabitch recharged, Cory,”  Colonel Sanders yelled. “Any ass that big can cut more than cheese!” The night air of the California desert reeked of rotten eggs, and the M-99 clothes pin clamped over the Colonel’s nose made him almost impossible to understand above the flatulence that surrounded us all.

The Colonel had faced the Nazis, the Commies, even the hookers that hung out behind the PX in Fort Dix. But the closest he had ever come to facing an ass this ugly was the time he barged in on Mamie Eisenhower changing her underpants after a White House golf tournament. And even that couldn’t prepare him for the waddling mass of flesh that towered over him and his men.

The Pentagon had named me, Doctor Matt “Crash” Cory, their Level-1  scientist-in-charge. Leave the fighting to guys like Sanders. It was 1958 and everything was science now. I was, dug in, one bunker over from the Colonel, with my next-in-command fiancee, Doctor Ginger Baker, by my side. She was indispensable — intelligent, educated, beautiful, sophisticated. And who doesn’t enjoy making love to a woman who leaves her lab coat and stockings on?

Sanders hated the idea of any woman being anywhere near the business end of a good fight. But Ginger was really the only one in Special Scientific Personnel that I could trust. I got my way about it, and that was the deal.

“Hurry, Cory!” urged the Colonel. “If it farts on us again, I don’t think I’ll be able to take it!”

Ginger fed me the payload and trajectory data as I nervously recharged the experimental Cork Launcher. The cork looked like a rubber bathtub stopper, only about the size of a truck tire. We greased it up and lowered it into the breech.

I kept trying to forget the big lugs were trying to turn us all into green compost. One direct-hit squeaker, and I’d be an instant Giacometti. Instead, I strangely found myself wondering what the “H” in “Jesus H. Christ” stood for. Was it corporate? Or was it just “Call me Happy!” back at the carpentry shop?

Another fiery blue ray of methane erupted like a crazy Gene Krupa solo from between leviathan cheeks, knocking the Colonel’s helmet completely cockeyed on his head and snapping my awkward scientific train of thought.

Lit from below by military floods, the dozen or so hulking creatures on all sides of us were just plain too close. And the one right over us was a lot taller than the others. Its scrawny legs heaved and swayed under the bulk of flabby wrinkled buttocks. Someone in our bunker made reference to sticking Kate Smith's ass on Howdy Doody.

That’s all there was to these monsters, really — fifty or sixty feet of two legs and a big ass. Only difference between us and them was that the ass was on backwards, so it faced front. And, except for the eyes —piercing, red and beady, one on each buttock — that was it. No upper torso at all. You could just about put a hat on one and hang a necktie from it, and it would be Mister Asshole to you, pal.

“Prepare to fire cork!” I ordered.

“Prepare to fire cork!” echoed the gunner, kissing the crucifix that hung from his neck.

“Here’s some Buttocks Helper!” I yelled, removing the clothespin just long enough to holler and not blow my ear drums out. “Fire cork!”

“Fire cork!”

We all dove for the dirt as the Launcher’s barrel compressed, working up some muscle. It fired and recoiled, sending the cork at rocket speed.

“Fire in the hole!” yelled a voice from somewhere. The greasy projectile found its target. The creature’s knees buckled. Its red eyes crossed as they tried to focus on what had landed between them. It jumped in the air a few times, shaking the earth for miles around, then reared itself toward the heavens above us, letting loose with a real sheet ripper that sent the cork whistling over us like some UFO from Planet Farto. It bounced along the ground behind us, like a tire off a hundred-mile-an-hour semi.

“Good Lord! Just like when we tested it on Kate Smith,” yelled Colonel Sanders.

The creatures were alarmingly agitated now, clumsily crashing into one another as they came toward us. The Colonel ordered his men to pull back, but I squatted down in the ditch, cursing the still-smoking Launcher. Soldiers ran past me and over me.

“We don’t stand a chance!” the Colonel shouted, letting go a long round from his Thompson.

I was about to yell something to Ginger, when I felt my face being driven deep down into the hot sand. I tried to breathe, then felt myself swirling into total blackness.

As I felt consciousness dizzily begin to wash over me, I wondered if hours or days had gone by. For a moment, I imagined I was back at the Hotsy-Totsy Club in Baltimore with a popcorn box on my lap, the one with no bottom. The girl in white was suspended above the stage and seemed to be dancing — or was she struggling? — shouting in  my direction. I could hardly make sense of it.

Some sort of slimy bubbling and gurgling. “Call the plumber,” I mumbled.

Then somebody close to my face, yet so far away.  “So happy to have you with us, Doctor Cory.”

I tried to move my arms, but found myself tightly bound to a chair, my wrists lashed to the arm rests. I squeezed my eyelids open and shut... not the Hotsy-Totsy... but a large dark, room... the girl on the rope still a blur.

 “After five long years, how interesting we meet again, Doctor Cory. Sorry about one of them stepping on you, but it’s hard to get good help these days. I was surprised I found you alive. Sanders and his men left you for dead on their way out of there. I gave you an injection, then ‘borrowed’ a jeep to get you back here for the Big Atomic Baptism you so deserve... so soothing!”

As my aching brain sharpened, I suddenly recognized him. We first laid eyes on him back in ‘53 when the government had money to burn on all those A-bomb tests way out here in the Big Hot Nowhere. Back then it was the Fourth of July a few times a week. And we all got to wear those cool goggles.

Crackpots came and went. We were getting them from all over — some from Germany, some from those weird trades with the Soviets, and some from right here in the States. From the minute he arrived, he talked about taking over the world. There were about a dozen other crackpots there. It was a crowded field, and I don’t think he could take the competition.

Then we had found out he wasn’t a doctor of science at all, but a doctor of podiatry. The government... go figure. So, we had to let him go. Not much call for a podiatrist way out here. But I do recall him vowing vengeance.

“Good Lord! You’re Doctor Haywood Jablomey -- evil podiatrist!”

“I’m afraid it’s Swami Jablomey now, Doctor Cory.”

He was insane. Having that name all through high school will do that to you.

“Look at me,” he commanded. I was forced to stare at a face from hell. He was hardly recognizable — gaunt, satanic, not the demented foot doctor we once knew.

"Look at me! What do you see?” he asked.

I took a long look. "Alcohol poisoning?"

“Besides that. I’ll tell you what you see!  You see the face of a man forced to wander the desert until the Lord God Almighty led me back here to the very place I started from. The place where you and your kind tempted the treacherous atom five long years ago.”

On he rattled. Something about this place, long after we had all abandoned it, and finding The Holy Spring — a fountain of something that had seeped up from the dry sands of the California wilderness. Nature had made the Spring a restitution for our unholiest of endeavors, and Jablomey its Enforcer.

“I, Swami Haywood Jablomey, a humble podiatrist, called upon by the Lord to build this temple over the Holy Spring itself. Imagine that!  To invite all sinners to sit their tired fat sinful asses down in the therapeutic holy slime to be born again!” As he spoke, he did a little happy dance.

“Is this one of those health resorts I’ve read about in those nudist magazines?” I asked. “But those hideous creatures...”

“You mean those poor thirty-ton overgrown rear ends? Righteous sinners looking for redemption right off the bus. ‘Enjoy the soak!’ I told them!” He howled and thrust a simple letterpressed pamphlet at me:


“And Joseph Layeth Down with His Ass...”

Just as You Can Layeth Down with Yours
At Swami’s Holy Hot Spring Resort!

Souls Restored



Outside, I could hear the shrieking of jets and the rattle of tank tread. It all sounded so close.

“Genesis, chapter six, verse four, Doctor Cory: ‘There were giants in the earth!’ Of course, I had no idea that when they got born again, they would look like a walking potato with no pants on. And that they would be so — so large! — let alone so damn clumsy and stupid.”

“And don’t forget ‘hideous.’”

“That too. So, I had to ask myself — what have I ever done with my life anyway? I was never crazy about podiatry in the first place, waiting around for a major breakthrough in corns. Why not take over the world?” He paused. “Not with this bunch, though. I need to introduce some brains into the family, and you two will do. Excellent physical specimens with Ph.D’s coming out of your ears. The Adam and Eve of my new giant race of super heinies! Just a squat in the old bubbling slime with your pants off!”

I forced myself to look down past my Fruit-of-the-Looms toward my argyle-clad ankles and Florsheim wing tips, and realized that besides being tied to a chair, I was missing my pleated blue serge pants.

“Help!” a woman’s voice cried out.

There, tied by rope no more than three meters above the bubbling churning pit of unholy waters was the girl in white.

“Ginger!”

(to be continued)


Watch for the exciting conclusion, "Attack of the Giant Buttocks People - Part 2" on the next installment of the Lou Brooks Blog!

Attack of the Giant Buttocks People is written and illustrated by Lou Brooks, and was originally published in BLAB! No. 11, as well as on Lou's original blog on Drawger.com.


A little taste of those things that inspire, courtesy of Bert I. Gordon and American International Pictures.

Sunday
Sep042011

Party Gag Art - #4

No, not Pussy Willow. That's a plant. Pussy Pillow! Actually, a rubber pad with a luxurious "tufted red satin" pillow pattern printed on it. Truth be told, it looks about as much like a pillow as an enema bag, and it's the same color rubber. Just inflate it, push in that little hot dog appendage while inserting the supplied rubber mouse, then just wait for someone to step up and say: "That luxurious tufted red satin pillow sure looks comfortable!" Then watch the party fun zoom off the meter as that revolutionary PUSSY-TAIL propulsion goes to work. Purchased back when Times Square was really Times Square.