Twisted Image

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Twisted Image is a cartoon strip and a zine by Ace Backwords.

Backword's comic strip, Twisted Image, was first seen in his zine of the same name. Since then, the strip has appeared in hundreds of publications. In a style inspired by R. Crumb, it lampoons countercultural stereotypes and documents Backwords' experiences as a homeless resident of San Francisco. The strip has appeared in zines such as Maximum Rock N Roll, among others, and was featured in The Factsheet Five Zine Reader. A collection of Twisted Image comics was published by Loompanics in 1991, but is now out of print.


"I started TWISTED IMAGE in the summer of 1982 in Berkeley, California (along with co-editors B.N. Duncan and Mary Mayhem). The first issue was published almost at the exact same time as MAXIMUM ROCK N ROLL #1, and over the years there would be a strange parallel history between the two publications; like two creatures spawned at the same time and the same place, only in parellel universes. Originally patterned after the great '60s underground hippie newspapers, TWISTED IMAGE started out as punk tabloid (5,000 to 10,000 circulation) inspired by the punk rock youth culture that was exploding all over the Bay Area at the time, and seemed like an exciting, dynamic force worth capturing in print.

TWISTED IMAGE #1 featured an interview with the punk band Fear, as well as interviews with the punks in the audience at the legendary Elite CLub, who were as much a part of the show, if not more so. TWISTED IMAGE #2 featured a big spread on Dischord Records. TWISTED IMAGE #3 featured interviews with Johnny Rotten and PIL, and the band X. TWISTED IMAGE #4 was the "Punk Fanzine Issue" featuring interviews with the Dead Kennedys, and the editors of MRR, Flipside, Ripper, Punk Globe, Sick Teen, John Holmstrom (the publisher of the original Punk Magazine), and fanzine cartoonist John "Baboon Dooley" Crawford. TWISTED IMAGE #5 was the "Gore and Violence Issue" featuring interviews with Henry Rollins of Black Flag, and cartoonist S. Clay Wilson. TWISTED IMAGE #6 was the "Comics Art Issue" featuring interviews with R. Crumb and Charles Schulz, probably the greatest underground and overground cartoonists of our times. TWISTED IMAGE #8 freatured an interview with Charles Bukowski.

In 1987 I got a job as a full-time cartoonist, so I switched the format of TWISTED IMAGE from a tabloid to a monthly xeroxed newsletter (circulation 500). The newsletter featured my latest batch of comics, interviews, a lively letter section, and whatever madness I was up to that month. I published about 50 issues of the newsletter until I burned out in 1994 and embarked on a third dynamic career as a homeless street bum.

Back issues of TWISTED IMAGE are exceedingly rare, though they occasionally pop up on EBay where they fetch exceedingly mediocre prices. So I guess TWISTED IMAGE still doesn't qualify as a valuable collector's item. Darn."

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