January saw the online debut of "Wasted
," a new quarterly humor anthology from Bad Press Ltd. Edited by comics veteran Alan Grant (writer of "Detective Comics," "Batman: Shadow of the Bat," "Judge Dredd") and produced in large part at "All-Star Superman" colorist Jamie Grant's studio in Glasgow, Scotland, "Wasted" presents new and classic comic strips with an emphasis on drug culture and other variously rude scenes. Alan Grant and Jamie Grant (who are not related) have a history in the British underground comics scene, and have pulled together fifty pages of hilarity from established and emerging talent, all wrapped up under a saucy Frank Quitely cover. The book will be made available both online and in print. CBR News had a chance to chat with Alan Grant about "Wasted" and the challenges of distributing controversial content.
"'Wasted' as a comic has been brewing for the past couple of years. As a one-time stoner, I have fond memories of '60s underground comics like 'International Times,' 'OZ,' 'Fat Freddy,' etc," Alan Grant told CBR News. "I wanted to give the world an updated version of those underground classics. There are reputed to be around 300 million marijuana smokers in the world. Our aim is to have all of them buying and reading 'Wasted.'"
Grant offers the disclaimer that "Wasted" does not seek to promote drug use, but is rather about having fun with the trappings of drug culture. The humor plays with the some of the pitfalls of stoner life, and also with the absurdity of the War On Drugs. In this, "Wasted" is a direct successor to another counterculture 'zine. "The first step was for me to get involved with 'Northern Lightz,' already being published by Jamie, Dave Alexander, Big Jim Stewart and Pudsey," Grant said, referring to the comic published in the UK from 1999-2004. "The idea with 'Lightz' was to start small and get larger with each issue, owing to word of mouth. It didn't work out, so we came up with 'Wasted.' It's is a more professional version of 'Northern Lightz.'"
Several "Wasted" contributors are well-known names in the comics world, with many others new to the business. Among the established talents appearing in issue #1 are John Wagner, Simon Bisley, Frank Quitely on the cover, and Alan Grant himself. The editor indicated that "Wasted" will benefit from the creative system it has in place, and that work on the second issue is nearly finalized. "The major difference with 'Northern Lightz' is that we have proper editorial control now," Grant said. "Also, Jamie's studio-Hope Street Studios of GlasVegas-has been heavily involved; writers, artists, colorists, letterers, everything except a personal stripper."
Bad Press, the new publishing enterprise of Mssrs. Grant, has also begun reprinting collections of comics such as "Dirty Dog" and "Tales of the Buddha," but unlike "Wasted," these will be available in print format only. "It would be nice to digitize the other Bad Press publications," Grant said, "but I don't know how practical it is. Yet."
The digital version of "Wasted" #1 is available to purchase now through www.wastedcomic.com
for £2.00 (about $4.00), with what Grant calls the "terrestrial edition" to follow later in February. Don't look for it in the Diamond catalogue, though. "All the traditional distributors have turned us down owing to subject matter," Grant said. "If we're a success, they'll be queuing up to sign us. Meantime, alternative distributors have ordered 5,000 copies, which I'd like to see doubled before we publish.
"I'm very, very happy with the first issue. I think it looks great and is a funny read."
Now discuss this story in CBR's Indie Comics forum.