So we are breaking format here on I’d Buy That For A Dollar. Instead of talking about a great bin find, I will be talking to one of the best, if not the best, when it comes to dollar bin diving; the one and only crew known as POWER COMICS. Spread across various media outlets, the guys in Power Comics do extremely researched and passionate dives into the most obscure and unique indie comics from the ’80s and ’90s. These are the kind of fans that transcend into historians, and end up being as important to the medium as the creators. I wouldn’t be doing this column without finding Power Comics first. I reached out to them and heard back from Evan Husney, the Power Comics O.G. Check out my chat with Evan below, and then head over to one of Power Comics outlets and start that deep dive. You will find all their links here: https://linktr.ee/powercomics.
Monkeys Fighting Robots: Hey there Evan, first of all, thanks for taking the time to talk to us at Monkeys Fighting Robots. What you do is so unique, can you give our readers the rundown on what you do with Power Comics.
Evan Husney: The main objective with Power Comics is to identify, archive and canonize the weirdest and wildest small press comics from the ’80s and ’90s to show the universe that these forgotten works have now perfectly aged into the fine wine of outsider art. This particular era of comics produced so many hastily attempted indie ventures by singular basement dwellers, which at the time of their release were not celebrated at all – in fact, most of the comics from the DIY boom were heavily maligned by the greater comic community. To us, these comics are far more interesting than most work from the mainstream, and their purity would be impossible to replicate in today’s modern internet era of self-awareness and ironic style humor. Our staff and I spend way too much time and money digging through dusty quarter bins to unearth these forgotten dreams and to resurrect the unfulfilled artists of the past. The best way to describe and/or identify a “Power Comic” is via our motto: “where enthusiasm meets frustration”. If the art and writing appear to be made under those circumstances, it’s likely a Power Comic.
MFR: Is it a solo venture?
EH: Thank heavens no! Power Comics began as a tag team duo of myself and my dear friend Zack Carlson, the author of DESTROY ALL MOVIES!!!, and also a legendary film curator from Austin, TX. Then, a few years into the venture, we added another super close friend of ours Gabe Dikel into the mix, who also possesses the Power Comic obsession, keen eye and hunger for awkwardly drawn muscles.
MFR: How long has Power Comics been going?
EH: I believe that Power Comics will be turning 10 this year! We started back in late 2011. Hard to believe!
MFR: So how do you find these hidden gems? What’s the research/searching process like?
EH: Digging through any quarter bins we can find is our preferred method, but there’s also a lot of painstaking hours scouring online comic retailers like Mile High Comics, Atomic Avenue, mycomicshop.com, etc, going through EACH and every publisher from A-Z to make sure NOTHING has been missed. Tons and tons and tons of hours. When you find one comic you like, that takes you on a whole separate journey to see if the same artist, publisher, writer, etc did anything else that is as remotely untarnished as the other issue you found. Rabbit holes within rabbit holes. Can’t tell you how many comics we’ve blind purchased online only to find out that when we finally get to thumb through them in the flesh, they are either “too good” or “too self-aware.” Can be majorly discouraging.
MFR: Do you mostly find scans/pdfs, or are you finding and receiving more actual physical books? And do you have a preference?
EH: Physical books only. We have to touch them.
MFR: How many media platforms are you guys spread on? And where can comic fans get the most out of what you do?
EH: The main dig is Instagram. We recently launched a YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/powercomics) where we plan to do tons of in-depth reviews, interviews with Power Comic creators, and we just kicked off a Power Comic book club with Benjamin Marra. Our most exciting new venture though is our Patreon (www.patreon.com/powercomics) where for just $5/month we grant folks access to our growing digital library where they can read through the most fascinating, rare comics we’ve discovered.
MFR: When did your interest in these kinds of comics start? Did a specific book get you going?
EH: It pretty much all started when Zack Carlson exposed me to Ken Landgraf and Bob Huszar’s New York City Outlaws back in 2009/2010, which is an amazing DIY/heavy metal take on The Warriors. It was that moment when a huge door opened, and I realized that there was this whole hidden underground world of small press ’80s comics, and it grew into a total obsession to find more like NY Outlaws. At the time, none of these comics were worth ANYTHING. So I would spend hours on MileHighComics.com just going through all the publishers and searching various things and would order a HUGE box of like 200 comics shipped to my house for $40. All gems. And it was this awesome feeling of being on to something, and collecting something special that no one else had yet caught on to – not sure if that was true or not, but that is how it felt at the time.
MFR: How did you come to the term ‘Power Comics’?
EH: I honestly can’t remember exactly, but we wanted to launch a Tumblr back in 2011 to showcase these discoveries and we needed a name for the site as we wanted to create a portal where all of these odd duck comics could be united and live together. The innocuously simple, but very fitting title POWER COMICS was chosen.
MFR: Do you have a particular favorite discovery?
EH: My favorite discovery is actually a ’70s large-format comic zine called Mistique from the UK. We posted on Instagram, but I’ve never seen ANYWHERE else, and can’t find any information about it. The art is so amazing, I want to make 30 different t-shirt designs from it ASAP. But my favorite Power Comic is Dream Weaver issue #2. I believe it to be the perfect Power Comic specimen, and it even reaches transcendent levels of poetic brilliance.
MFR: Is there a book you are still looking for? Is there a Power Comics Holly Grail find out there?
EH: There’s MANY. The one that’s high on the MOST WANTED list at this present moment is a title called Baneful Ground. If you got it, get in touch.
MFR: Why do you think these comics are important to shed a light on? What can they showcase about our beloved medium?
EH: Similar to how the film world has its most devoted fans of ultra-low-budget action film discoveries, and/or shot-on-video horror films of the ’80s, or like how rare record heads in the music world obsesses over obscure, private press basement demos, power comics is just that for the world of comics. Power comics is the outsider reflection of this medium’s mainstream.
MFR:On top of highlighting comics, you guys have also recently interviewed a few creators. What kind of response have you gotten from some of the creators whose books you have highlighted?
EH: It’s been a trip. The response to the creators we’ve spoken to thus far has been mostly shock. Most can’t believe we’ve tracked them down, that anybody cared, or even likes the comic they created 30+ years ago. At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to peek behind the curtain to find out the real truths behind some of my favorite Power Comics as that could spoil the mystique, but so far it’s been super rewarding talking to some of these creators and also finding out the things you always suspected regarding the creation, limitations and dreams they originally had, were true.
MFR: Do you make any comics of your own?
EH: I don’t – I’m just a fan and an admirer of comics.
MFR: Where do you want to take ‘Power Comics’ in 2021? Anything new on the horizon?
EH: We want to grow our following on IG, YouTube and Patreon the most we can! We have some killer things and hugely AMBITIOUS goals planned, but they may only work if we can grow our audience x4 this year!
MFR: Any parting comments for our readers?
EH: YES. If you have any “Power Comics” that we don’t or noticed we haven’t posted yet, please assume we don’t have them/it, and definitely make sure to send us a message on IG, Patreon, or YouTube with any tips on new Power Comic discoveries! We’re ALWAYS on the hunt!!
The war between monkeys and robots has raged on for eons; these are the stories that have survived. With art by Jamie Jones and the occasional words by Matt Sardo, Tales of Monkeys Fighting Robots hits the web every Sunday.