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Girls and Corpses
issue #1
Interview with John Taylor Howard

Girls and Corpses Magazine is rotting with glee to welcome underground comic book icon JOHN TAYLOR HOWARD author and illustrator of the infamous, thirteen issue, comic book series "Horny Biker Sluts" (which follows the jism splattered sexual exploits of a sex-crazed female biker gang) and the three issue "She-Male Trouble" (don't ask) both published by Last Gasp Eco-Funnies. His sin-tillating illustrations have also been featured in Buttman Magazine and comics, Hustler, Screw, Taste of Latex, and Bede X (France). Howard's awesome artwork has also been exhibited at many top galleries, including the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York.

G&C: So, John, how did you get started in the underground comic book movement?

JH: I was born an only child in Austin, Texas (1962). My family moved around a lot when I was young, so my social retardation began at an early age. I started out on Sad Sack and Casper, graduated to Kirby stuff like Fantastic Four and those Neal Adams X-Men and eventually made the leap to underground comix in the mid-70's. Like most of us I guess, I was constantly aping my betters, doing little eight page xeroxed comics and generally defacing any smooth surface. I think I came into the world of comics with a pretty realistic attitude, i.e. that I'll never make any money at it, it'll just be something to do when I come home from cleaning other people's shit off public restroom floors. But here I am, barely into middle age and making a good one third of a living doing exactly what I want! Only in America (snivel choke).

G&C: I understand some of your influences included European cartoonists Francisco Ibáñez and Magnus & Uderzo. Who were your American influences?

JH: I'll steal from anyone, but mostly I look to those underground comix guys like Crumb, Gilbert Shelton, S. Clay Wilson, Greg Irons. Shelton's Freak Brothers are funnier that any so-called 'humor' comics of the last thirty years, and Wilson I can only describe as a genuinely dirty person. Richard Corben also to some degree, although I could never get the hang of that airbrush. Loved that Magnus Robot fighter parody where the android tears off Magnus' arms and legs, then fucks his girlfriend. I remember my mind blowing when I realized you could do comics about anything at all, including big giant titties and whatnot.

G&C: Do you consider yourself more of an artist or writer?

JH: The writing is definitely the hardest thing for me. Coming up with a decent story idea (assuming I ever have) is like crapping a cantaloup. On the other hand, I usually don't much enjoy illustrating someone else's story-line because I have a very narrow range of interest. Basically I'm a one-trick pony, yes I am.

G&C: Did you ever study art and illustration, or did it just come naturally?

JH: I'm one of those dumb fucks who learned to draw by reading comic books. I had art in high school of course, and took some classes in college. It exposed me to a lot of fresh ideas and techniques, none of which aroused my interest whatsoever. Seems now like I spent most of my college years doing concert posters for local bands for free and then having to pay to get into the shows. What's the line in that song? "Shoulda learned to play the guitar..." The first law of cartooning is: musicians get all the pussy. Thinking back, I probably picked up a few useful tips in college about real basic stuff like perspective and anatomy (ho-hum), but I'm really doing the same work I was at age 14, just hopefully a little more polished. I value the years I spent as a student though... beats the hell out of working.

G&C: In which art mediums do you prefer to work?

JH: I like to paint in acrylics, If you're really cool you might have seen an album cover I did for my pals The Hookers a few years ago. I've also done a few gallery shows, which is nice and everything but there's really been no money in it. Last year I sent a big piece that I called 'Wicked Stepmother' to a show in Miami. I thought it was brilliant, but I guess most folks aren't into having a big ol' she-male hanging over the mantelpiece. Recently I squirted out several little sculptures, which was fun but nobody will ever mistake them for art. Mostly I just keep drawing those titties, gotta bring home the bacon.

G&C: "Horny Biker Slut" is truly the best and most original raunch fest comix. What inspired you? Do you ride a Harley? And are you out of prison yet?

JH: This is where readers start dropping out of the interview. People often assume that I'm some kind of badass and then are crushed to learn the truth. A Harley? Get serious. Those things are dangerous! Anyway, before doing Horny Biker Slut, my friend Scott Phillips and I were working on an inoffensive little comic called Leaping Weasel. Surely you remember it. We weren't exactly setting the world on fire, and I made the decision to 'sell out.' Yeah, that's right, HBS was actually an attempt to do something commercial! We drew the whole first issue, it took us probably six months, and hauled it off to San Diego Con to shop it around to different publishers. Ron Turner of Last Gasp was the first guy we showed it to and he snapped it right up. Little known fact- it was Ron who came up with the title. We were calling it 'Weasels Die Hard' in tribute to some old biker movie as well as our own now-defunct comic. Good idea, assholes.

G&C: You're a pioneer in the adult comix market -- What do you think of the current state of 'adult' comic books today? Do you think they suck? (pardon the pun).

JH: I'm really out of the loop these days. Seems like you have to wade through so much manga-inspired ass flop to get to anything approaching interesting, I just kind of gave up on it. Seems like the Europeans were doing some pretty good stuff.

G&C: But do you feel that your sales were capped by the adult nature of your comic books? Could you have made more drawing dinosaurs than dildos?

JH: Sure, absolutely. No surprise there, comic shops were scared to death of the things. They'd order enough for the employees and maybe one to hide under the counter. On the other hand, at the time there was no real alternative to HBS or She-Male Trouble, so people would seek them out by special order or whatever means. I was shocked to see them openly displayed on newsstands when I'd visit bigger cities like San Francisco, but we are living in a Puritan country after all.

G&C: Have ever written mainstream comic books?

JH: You know, even as a kid reading every mainstream comic I could get my hands on, I never really aspired to work on one myself. It wasn't until I discovered the undergrounds that I felt like I could contribute something. The closest thing I guess was a one-issue run of DEATHMAN for I forget what company years ago. DM was this big demented guy who lived with his sister and wore a wrestling mask. The idea was that the stories would be about all these campus hipster characters, kind of an Archie for the 80's, and then on the last page Deathman would come crashing in and beat someone to a pulp with his baseball bat. I'm still sore from the dicking I took on that one.

G&C: Are you planning other comics with Last Gasp?

JH: There's a second HBS anthology and a She-Male Trouble anthology on Last Gasp's publishing schedule, where they've been for a few years now. Your guess is as good as mine, frankly. I've got an idea for another comic that I would call CHEATING BITCH, all about hot wives stepping out. However, judging by the sales figures toward the end of HBS, I'm not sure if adult comic books are a viable art form any more. If I knew anything at all about the internet I'd probably try to peddle my filth that way, but you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Especially a dumb one like me.

G&C: So, has 'Horny Biker Slut' parked its hog for good? Or, will you rev it back up someday?

JH: Ron Turner and I once discussed reviving HBS in some kind of prestige format, like a graphic novel or whatever. I don't know if it'll ever happen. Sounds like a lot of work to me. Back in the day, I had a few offers to make HBS into animation, or a computer game, or whatever. I dunno, maybe I missed out on a good thing but those guys just all seemed like douche-bags to me, out to make a quick buck by cranking out some piece of crap. Kind of like Disney, since you mention it.

G&C: Have you ever considered Horny Biker Slut as an animated feature? Like Disney's Mulan, only with enormous tits? Seriously, with cable channels like Spike TV there will be more adult themed cartoons.

JH: That's a nice fantasy, but I'm sure I'd just be setting myself up for a lot of slick glad-handing and double-talk, followed by a painful ass reaming. I've had enough dealings with show business people to know that I just can't deal with all the bullshit. Plus I like to think that I have enough artistic integrity (just play along) that I wouldn't allow the comics to be watered down and ruined to appeal to Joe Average Frat Boy.

G&C: SHE-MALE TROUBLE was a gas. Is the series dead and buried?

JH: She-Male was always a hard sell. Personally, I loved writing the McGootch sisters, I think they were great characters. In retrospect, making them funny mean white-trash trailer park vixens probably turned a lot of people off, but I gotta follow my muse.

G&C: Do you think it's wrong for beautiful women to cavort with corpses?

JH: Of course it's wrong, that's why it's soooo good.

G&C: Has a girl ever stood you up for a corpse?

JH: Yes. I am after all a cartoonist.

G&C: Who would you like to see posed with a corpse on our mag cover?

JH: The Dixie Chicks

G&C: What would the Horny Biker chix have done with a corpse?

JH: Depends. Trixie likes gumbo, Violet's more of a barbecue girl.

G&C: What's next for John Howard's corpse?

JH: It's hoping for a gig posing with the Dixie Chicks.