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BOOK REVIEW: "Henry & Glenn Forever + Ever: The Completely Ridiculous Edition" by Tom Neely

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BOOK REVIEW: Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever: Completely Ridiculous Edition by Tom Neely (Microcosm Publishing) 2017

What happens when two of rock’s most uber-hetero, hyper-serious alt-rockers—Henry (Rollins) and Glenn (Danzig)—find themselves in the middle of domestic bliss and otherworldly blisters? Well, then you have the premise behind Tom Neely’s uproarious Henry & Glenn Forever + Ever comic series, collected here in a hardbound, gorgeously illustrated “Completely Ridiculous Edition” from Microcosm Publishing.

Over the past ten years, the underground comic Henry and Glenn has garnered numerous fans—Danzig not one of them, who called its creator “very stupid”—for its “beyond bromance” satirization of the sitcommy masculinity of the hard rock /alternative roll scene, done in parodic styles that range from Ernie Bushmiller to Tom of Finland, creating an open world for these two characters that goes way beyond the admitted one-note joke in a way that I think has surprised even the most dynamically tensioned critics.

After opening with Glenn calling on all the demons of Hell to curse the makers of this book, what follows is a raucous comedy of an after-the-honeymoon-is-over look at a relationship that reads like a cross between the lyrics page for Thrall: DemonSweatLive and Erma Bombeck’s The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side of the Septic Tank. Aided by their Satanic next-door neighbors Daryl (Hall) and John (Oates), we follow the Glenn and Henry’s foibles, from Danzig’s obvious mother issues and love of all things kitten to Rollins’ own laborious work ethic and constant judgment of all things he considers beneath him, Glenn included, natch.

With a middle-finger extended from one subculture to another, one that feels like the type of ‘zine Peter Bagge’s Buddy Bradley would’ve put out if he had the wherewithal and lack of self-awareness, the adventures of Henry and Glenn are filled with plenty of cameos from your favorite alternative rock legends like Iggy Pop and that one dude from Ghost, a full-color section of classic parody covers and, most ingeniously, a hilarious essay about the “Secret History of Henry & Glenn Comics” by Nick Green.

Regardless of which side of the fandom fence you fall on—if you’re a fan of either icon to begin with— Henry & Glenn Forever + Ever is an underground comedy work of absurdist art for the Spin Magazine generation (original incarnation only, please) that genuinely preferred our suffering with a side of heavy guitars, demonic imagery and a whole lot of self-loathing and forced introspection. While we might have changed since then, there’s something irrepressibly darling and buoyantly infectious that the Henry and Glenn presented here haven’t- and have found each other in spite of it. Get some, go again, true believer!

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Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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