Above, a dream strip from RARE BIT FIENDS starring myself, Steve Bissette and John Totleben. John is also the subject of the short piece that follows which was written for a tribute zine published as a con giveaway many years back. Enjoy.
THE DANCE OF THE DEATH CHICKY
By Rick Veitch
While John Totleben is justifiably renowned for his astonishing pen and ink techniques and stone cold visionary delineation’s of skin crawling horror, a small group of artists who knew John intimately in his student days are more apt to celebrate this gifted artist by recalling his greatest talent: puppetry.
John’s hidden marionette skills made their world debut at the FLYING DUTCHMAN STUDIO (actually a roach-ridden New Jersey flop-house shared by Totleben, Tom Yeates, Steve Bissette, and myself and frequented by various starving artists, hangers on, lost souls and subterranean culture vultures). While retrievable memory cells from those halcyon days are fortunately in short supply, I suspect it began as most things did in that hallowed environment, which was with a slowly dawning awareness among one or more of the DUTCHMEN that important bodily functions had been neglected for too long. In the case of DEATH CHICKY, this would probably have been a painful gnawing at the abused lining of what passed for stomachs among these budding but soon-to-be-lionized comic book geniuses. With the stabbing pangs would begin a mighty and increasingly frantic search of chronically empty pockets and wallets, followed by a shaking down of any hapless visitors or luckless girlfriends and capped with an archeological dig through epic piles of landfilled garbage for left over deposit bottles from the previous weekend’s festivities.