Colin’s Inkstuds Comics Review Day 7
Where Demented Wented, The Art and Comics of Rory Hayes, edited by Dan Nadel & Glenn Bray
Rory Hayes was nuts. I mean, really, truly insane. In the underground comix scene of San Francisco his work stood out not only for his primitive, demented child like drawing but his extreme images of sex, violence and drug abuse which out did even Checkered Demon cartoonist S. Clay Wilson. While Wilson was out to shock and amuse, Hayes was tapping into a rich vein of paranoia and insanity that was truly disturbing. Hayes comix began as EC horror influenced tales of terror featuring teddy bears or anthropomorphic saltine crackers as the victims of cannibals and demons. Later his work became more polished and psychedelic but no less extreme. Now, this material isn’t usually my cup of tea to be honest, but Rory Hayes work has the authentic voice of a true outsider artist, a genuine madman in a world full of posers. He is also worth paying attention too because even though he is an obscure artist he was an inspiration to many neo-primitive cartoonists such as Mark Beyer and artists who emerged from the later small press comics scene. His influence can be seen to this day in some unexpected places, like the genteel work of Vancouver art zine publisher Owen Plummer. Hayes’s career was tragically short, his drug abuse (included in this book is his harrowing semi-autobiographical story Popoff Hayes, The Drug Fiend, published posthumously) led to his early death in 1983 at 34 years old. This book collects most of Hayes comix work, there wasn’t a lot, mostly published in various underground anthologies. Where Demented Wented also includes paintings and drawings by Hayes, articles and even a short interview from 1973. It’s an fascinating collection and well presented. Recommended.
Colin (The demented fiend) Upton