Monday, February 05, 2024

Today in Comics History, February 5: Happy birthday, William S. Burroughs!

Born on this day in 1914: Beat writer and artist William S. Burroughs (Junkie, Queer, Naked Lunch (I can think of two things wrong with that title), The London Trilogy, The Red Night Trilogy and more), who, along with Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and others, built the tropes, literature, and ideas of the Beat Generation. Without which we wouldn't have had the Beatles. Reminder to myself: must double check this possible fact in my research.

Perhaps most notably, The Beat Generation battled Generation X! I mean literally! Burroughs is the rectangular-spectacled chap in the fourth and sixth panel. Guess his agent didn't deal with Marvel as well as Ginsberg's and Keruoac's!

from "Generation X vs. The Beat Generation" in Generation X Underground #1 one-shot (Marvel, May 1998), by Jim Mahfood

Burroughs pops up in Alan Moore's "anybody who ever had anything to do with Cthulhu-ly literature" saga Providence:

from Providence #11 (Avatar, November 2016), script by Alan Moore, pencils and inks by Jacen Burrows, colors by Juan Manuel Rodriguez, letters by Kurt Hathaway

And he appears in Ales Kot and Robert Sammelin stuffed-through-the-center with a tunnel of psychomagic comic Zero:

from Zero #17 (Image, June 2015), script by Ales Kot, pencils and inks by Robert Sammelin, colors by Jordie Bellaire, letters by Clayton Cowles

He even meets Patti Smith, which, hey, is something we've all aspired to.

In fact, the series is dedicated to William S. Burroughs.

from Zero #18 (Image, July 2015), script by Ales Kot, pencils and inks by Robert Sammelin, colors by Jordie Bellaires

Happy birthday, WIlliam Burroughs! In the words of Sonny and Cher, the Beat goes on.

from The Complete Crumb Comics v.16: The Mid-1980s: More Years of Valiant Struggle (Fantagraphics, July 2002), by Robert Crumb

1 comment:

Blam said...

I don’t know what your Beatles research turned up, but we definitely wouldn’t have had Steely Dan (at least by that name).