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Interview with Writer Sam Humphries

The man, the myth, the fro - - and he's talking about CBGB.

 Sam Humphries, himself.
Sam Humphries is a man of diverse talents and experience. Focusing on comics alone... he was behind MySpace Comics, he's written a lead story for Archaia's revival of FRAGGLE ROCK and he most recently contributed to CBGB, a limited series anthology Boom's starting this Wednesday (Diamond Code MAY100867, order it here!) Somehow, I was able to flag Sam down from the speedy streets of LA for an interview about that last project, which is an eclectic meeting of comics and punk rock.
COMIC VINE: First things first, Sam. Could you give everybody the low-down on CBGB - - the comic and the club? 

CBGB was THE seminal downtown New York rock club. It opened its doors in the mid-70s and became the launch pad for acts like The Ramones, Talking Heads, Television, Blondie, Patti Smith, and a dozen more amazing bands. It was one of the few (two?) clubs in New York at the time to give a venue to "street rock" which later became punk rock, new wave, and everything following.

CBGB: The Comic Book
is a four issue anthology featuring untold tales from in and around the club, and the once-in-a-lifetime scene that came up around it. It's one part love letter, one part distorted guitar solo, one part back room make out session, and twelve parts whiskey. == TEASER ==
 Red hands, bare chests and tats, tats, tats... that's the spirit of CBGB.
COMIC VINE:  Now, your half of the first issue is called "The Helsinki Syndrome." What's the roundhouse hook for this strip?

It's 1979 and a young CBGB scene rat discovers the secrets of his recently deceased, terminally agoraphobic, somewhat creepy uncle. Bob Dylan is implicated.

COMIC VINE:  I'm not as well versed in music history as I ought to be, so I'm curious... is this short the "secret origin" of a real band or musician? The whole notion of this punk kid getting inspiration from his eccentric uncle's death is pretty wild.

Music history is littered with little stories like these. I find them infinitely more compelling than Behind The Music: Hoobastank.

COMIC VINE:  This comic's something of a love letter to noise rock and multi-media performance art. Are you a fan of those genres? Who're some of your favorite artists?

Yes and no. I love all sorts of things that are broken down, f***ed up, and wilding out, but a lot of the work under those genres is hella unlistenable.

Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music was a direct inspiration for this story. I grew up thinking it was just about the worst example of pompous self indulgent piece of trash in a career often built on pompous self indulgence. But with time (and certain "statea of mind") I began to appreciate its finer points and understand that sometimes pieces of trash have their own, self destructive charm. That said, it's still nearly impossible to listen to all the way through (but I did so while writing the script).

In terms of the lineage of noise rock I'll name check Sonic Youth and F*** Buttons, two of the loudest and best live acts I've ever seen. Although I can hardly let this question pass without paying homage to Kraftwerk as well. Without whom, etc.

 The cover, by legendary LOVE & ROCKETS artist, Jaime Hernandez.
COMIC VINE:  Rob G's got a pretty punk rock name. Who is this cat? What's it been liking riffing with him?

Rob's an incredible artist whose work in the industry goes back a number of years. My favorite work by him is TEENAGERS FROM MARS which he did with Rick Spears. But he's also done work for DC, Image, films, video games, and awesome valentines for his daughter.

I first met Rob in 2003 at APE in San Francisco, just a day or two after his Brooklyn apartment burned to the ground. I was immediately in awe, he just lost nearly everything he owned and he still made it across the country to represent his comic book. That is DEDICATION. That is f***in' LOVE.

Later that weekend the two of us plus our buddies Dennis Culver and James Sime took a bat to a bust of Kraven the Hunter. That was LOVE, too. And LIQUOR. There's a comic about that somewhere.

Rob's been away from comic work for awhile but he crushed this story like he never left. I think people are going to be psyched to see him back.

COMIC VINE:  If readers want to learn more about the Sam Humphries enigma and experience more of his work, where should they look?

They should look into their hearts, or

COMIC VINE: Finally, I have to ask... what's the story on the wetshirts?

Ha! The Wetshirts are myself, Ian Broyles, Lou Noble, and Laura Taylor. We are a Los Angeles-based photo crew of like-minded and un-like-minded troublemakers. We go on crazy adventures and shoot awesome photos. Sometimes we just have bar-b-ques. Much Motherf***in' Wetshirts Love to Ian, Lou, and Laura! And all the Wetshirts fans! You can check out more at our website:

-- Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Studios and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia. Pre-order the HYBRID BASTARDS! hardcover now on

19 Comments Refresh
Posted by Comiclove5

Good interview, Mr. Pinchuk.
Posted by Slayeric

Oh man! I hope my shop has this tomorrow! Thanks for doing and publishing this interview! I wouldn't have known about this otherwise. :O

Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir


Posted by Decept-O

Thanks for giving this recognition.  As one who very much likes many forms of music, esp. the early New Wave and Punk Rock era, it is fantastic there is a comic book featuring this and I am stoked for it.    
I hope it doesn't get lost in the shuffle of quality Indie titles so I hope it gets support. 
Posted by NightFang
@Comiclove5 said:
" Good interview, Mr. Pinchuk. "
Posted by samhumphries
@Slayeric: Maybe one of these stores is near you? They should have plenty of copies. 
If not, ask your store to order it! Diamond has it in stock. Order code: 
Hope you dig the book!
Posted by samhumphries
@Decept-O said:
" Thanks for giving this recognition.  As one who very much likes many forms of music, esp. the early New Wave and Punk Rock era, it is fantastic there is a comic book featuring this and I am stoked for it.   
Decept-O, I think you are going to be pleased. Everyone who worked on this book is a big time music nerd!
It's not often you can crossover a love for music and a love for comics so we went for it this time. Let us know what you think!
Posted by mightiness

Not my cup of tea

Posted by firewrkninja
@NightFang said:
" @Comiclove5 said:
" Good interview, Mr. Pinchuk. "

Edited by Decept-O
Wow, thanks for replying to me.  Hopefully I can obtain this, it does look great, and yes, I agree that is a bit difficult to try, and I appreciate the fact you approached this in this medium.  I always like efforts that are "outside the box" to use the cliche'.    
Now I will most definitely see if I can get it.   Ciao! 
Well that sucks.  Looks like it is already out of stock.
Posted by samhumphries
@Decept-O:  Really? Out of stock at your store, or out of stock at Diamond?
If it's just out of stock at your store, they can order it for you with this code: 
Posted by Decept-O
I hit the link in this article which went to Boom! Studios and that is where I read it is out of stock.   
I really don't like dealing with my LCBS but I may ask them next week  if they would be able to get it for me.  However, the odds may be slim knowing that store.
Posted by samhumphries
@Decept-O:  Ah, that only means out of stock with BOOM! directly. Your LCBS should have it, or be able to get it.
Posted by samhumphries
@Decept-O:  OR if you don't like your LCBS, you can order it from -- they definitely have copies!
Whereabouts do you live? Everyone deserves to have an awesome comic shop near them.
Posted by Decept-O
Mr. Humphries,  
                          Sending you a PM if you don't mind.
Edited by Slayeric
@samhumphries: Oh wow, thanks for replying. I looked all over my shops indie area, even behind a few of the stuff, but they didn't have it. From the looks of your link, it seems that no where in Atlanta is carrying it? If not that's a damn shame! There are music junkies down here too, damn it! 
I'll give it an order from that mycomicshop site you just suggested. Again, thanks for the help and replying. I can't wait to read the book. It sounds like the perfect combination of music history and comics. Two things I greatly enjoy. 
EDIT: Done. Should be here within the week. Can not wait! 
Posted by samhumphries
Awesome! So glad it worked out. Hope you enjoy it.
To everyone, if your local comic shop doesn't carry a book you're looking for, tell them to order it for you! And if they won't order it for you, stop going there and find another store! A store that does not serve your needs and won't accommodate you does not deserve your service.
If you live in a place without multiple comic shops, check out the online alternatives, like or Vote with your dollars!
Posted by samhumphries
@Slayeric:  Just saw your edit that the book is on its way -- please let me know what you think!
Posted by Slayeric
@samhumphries said:
" @Slayeric:  Just saw your edit that the book is on its way -- please let me know what you think! "
I love music. It's my favorite thing ever. I enjoy movies, comics and video games, because well... that's just my generation. But if you asked me to pick one of those things in a desert island scenario, I'd go with music. I listen to all of my folks old records, and actually buy some new releases on vinyl before I get them on CD or .mp3 format. (most recently being Male Bondings fantastic first album) I've read books about the bands I love, the scenes they created, and the influence they left in their wake. Everything from Our Band Could Be Your Life to Hammer of the Gods. With that said, the book was an awesome love letter to anyone who has an affinity for the New York music scene in general with Television getting named drop in both features and TV on the Radio getting revered by who's presumably one of the main characters or the title. And for that, this book was an instant hit with me. I had a lot of fun reading it. I loved the art, I loved both stories, and after reading it the first time, I closed it eager to read more. So eager in fact, I flipped back tot the first page to read over it again and oogle the art even more.  I think my favorite part of the first feature was the amazing LCD Soundsystem lyric drop towards the end, pleasant little surprise that made me grin ear to ear. And in the second feature that splash page of The Helsinki Syndrome was probably the funniest thing I've laid my eyes on in a while. He's so intense looking! Pure ridiculousness. Then the follow up gag about Bob Dylan not being Helsinki Syndrome gave me a good laugh as well. Keep up the good work, man. I have a feeling that things can only get more and more solid from here.
I bought a lot of comics this week. Most of them superhero titles, but this is probably my favorite thing I've read all week. Thank you Tom Pinchuk for throwing up this interview last minute. I just happened across it and now I'm so happy that I did. And thank you Sam for writing it, and be sure to pass the thanks along to the others that work on the book. It's fuckin' great! It's definitely going to be a monthly pull for me now. I plan on showing this off to my band mates and friends both passionate about music and comics to get the word out on this little gem you've got going here.