This book is a ridiculously well designed tribute to the power of a brilliant, stupid idea. The basic concept is of a “what if?” which imagines if Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig were a couple who happened to be neighbors with satanic occultists, Hall & Oates. I remember first running across the original sixty-page Henry & Glenn Forever indy comic around 2010 and thought it good for a chuckle. I hadn’t realized Tom Neely and the Igloo Tornado art collective had been hammering away at the concept ever since so that now there is enough material to assemble a 320-page hardcover book.
This book stands as a testament to icon building. The whole concept works because Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig are such singular personalities that they transcend music and become pop culture figures. It’s safe to assume most punk, hardcore, or metal fans probably have some opinion on Henry Garfield and/or Glenn Anzalone, and probably only half the time is it related to their music. Part of the charm of the comics is the repeated use of imagery linked to Henry and Glenn to create a visual joke or advance a plot point. For instance, the photo that surfaced of Danzig leaving a grocery store with a box of kitty litter gets more than a few references. And one of L.A.’s most infamous (sadly gone) music landmarks, Glenn’s pile of bricks, is almost its own character. Henry and Glenn are such well-defined men of extreme passions, the mundane nature of buying cat litter, or as the comics propose, engaging in petty domestic squabbles, causes cognitive whiplash. It’s somehow easier to buy that Danzig confers with supernatural forces, or that Henry Rollins would go barefoot across an active war zone to record shop than it is to imagine the two of them having to deal with everyday relationship problems and chores like regular people.
The book is also a love letter to comics as an art. There are serialized action stories, short form jokes that take just a panel or two, and a ton of tribute art imagining Glenn and Henry in every form of comic art form throughout history. These include lovingly rendered takes of Henry and Glenn as golden age superheros, Archie-style teen romance comedies, ill-proportioned Rob Liefield super soldiers, and even Hernandez Brothers indy comics.
The book isn’t one hundred percent hits. Sometimes the artists or writers cop out with insultingly lazy gay stereotype jokes (looking at you “Going to Gaydes”). It’s perhaps inevitable there will be questionable entries when the concept at the heart of the entire endeavor is subverting two of punk’s most famously masculine men by throwing them together as a domestic couple. Maybe the true art is that the concept is usually handled somewhat skillfully. –Adrian Salas (Microcosm Publishing, 2752 N Williams Ave., Portland OR, 97227, microcosmpublishing.com / I Will Destroy You Comics, iwilldestroyyou.com)