The whole purpose of Exterminating Angel Press is to find, develop, and publish stories that have been overlooked in the mad dash for competition to get to the top of…of what? We’re thinking about that too. What is it we’re all in this mad dash for? And what happens when one of us gets to the top and gets to dance on all the corpses down below?
Well, maybe that’s a bit extreme. Let’s dial back. It does seem to me that monoculture in any form is unhealthy, that it does, as they say, take all kinds to make a world. At least any kind of world that’s going to be worth living in.
So when Mike Madrid, EAP’s creative director and resident popular culture expert, discovered a whole treasure trove of comics from the 40’s and 50’s, all that had fallen into public domain out of lack of interest, lack of belief that there was anything interesting in them, and when he described one or two of them to me, I knew immediately this was an EAP sort of a thing. These are stories that reveal possibilities other than the usual ones we’re seeing now, the more stultified, endlessly repeated muscle bound superheroes who save a couple of worlds and then go on to have their own line of toys. These are stories about superheroines who didn’t make the cut. They were too out there to catch a mass market eye. A debutante who makes herself ugly to fight crime. A sexy pussy cat who beats up criminals without letting her dog boyfriend know what she’s doing. A queen of the jungle who refuses to let anyone exploit her territory, and the people and animals that live there.
Then there’s the postmenopausal superheroine, Mother Hubbard. I always find it interesting that when I tell people about her, the first reaction is stunned laughter. Then I usually say something like, “See, you laughed. Why did you laugh? What is is about the superhero story that we’ve all agreed on that makes that funny?”
It’s interesting. It tells us something about ourselves. And, as we say around here, until we know a little bit about ourselves, fuck all is going to change.
The main thing about these stories, though, is that, being so out there, so unexpected, so unlike any story lines that hardened and calcified afterwards, they are supremely entertaining. And we’ve got 28 of them, the whole stories, coming out with Mike’s commentary, in October. We’re working on it now. And if you want to get a look at his introduction, you can have a look here…