J.T. Dockery was born 10,000 years ago in the shadow of the Appalachian mountains in what is now known as Eastern Kentucky. He is most known for his underground hieroglyph funny books such as In Tongues Illustrated, Spud Crazy with Nick Tosches, and the just completed cycle of three volumes in three years DESPAIR series.
As a participating artists in our Henry & Glen Forever & Ever art show, Dockery let us pick his brains with a few questions about his work!
When did you start making comics?
I read comics before I could read. I remember reading the first issue of the Marvel “Star Wars” comic both before I could read and before I saw the movie. The first comics I remember drawing were two issues of “Superly Stupid,” a super hero parody, which I printed a few copies in blue ink on the old mimeograph machine at the school my mom worked as a kid. This was somewhere between the 3rd and 5th grade. I know by the 5th grade, I hit my stride doing a Spider Man knock off character, “The Incredible Insect,” for some 15 issues of 10 to 15 pages each, some of which I printed, and my younger cousin would sell them to his classmates in the grades below me. I never looked back.
What do find interesting about the Henry and Glenn Forever project?
Muscles. Manliness. Always remaining hardcore and metal in the face of a society that doesn’t understand how hard I really am.
How did you get involved?
I was born like this.
Are these comics relevant to your other work?
To paraphrase Heraclitus: latent structure is master of obvious structure.
What is the intention behind your work?
The answer of intent is mostly: to reveal the facade of linear space-time for what it is: a mere facade.
What sort of projects are you working on now?
In addition to the HASSLE web comic, a work in progress, also working on illustrations to a book of poems for children by one of the great contemporary female poets, scratch that, one of the great contemporary poets, whose name I have to be coy and not disclose because it’s too soon in the development of the book.
I’m in the early stages of work, the drawing not the writing as it is done written, on a graphic novel about my experiences with Yeshua of Nazareth, he whom the Hellenes called Jesus the Christ, tentative title: “As Passers By: Christ, Another Story.” A taste of what is to come in that regard is in the lead story of the just released third and final volume of my DESPAIR series.
I also think I forgot to mention I did a book recently that will hit the streets first week of June that samples/pays homage to character designs by the late, great outsider African-American/outsider artist and Kentuckian, Charles Williams, in collaboration with underground hip hop legend, Sheisty Khrist, and his partner, LoFidel, that accompanies a cassette of bonus tracks and remixes from their recent album, “Cold Winter.”
Tell us a bit about the comics you’ve done in the past.
In retrospect, my In Tongues Illustrated book predicted everything else I’ve done since, without me being consciously aware of it: the fascination with exploring/exploding archetypes, and attempting to, in Jungian terms, integrate my own personality, heal my own psychic wounds, in ink on paper.
Not so many folks realize I’m on disability for arthritis, which I’ve had for 20 years, and draw through hands deformed by arthritis. So wounds/sickness along with healing on the other side of the coin is a preoccupation of mine.
Of course, with “Spud Crazy,” I got to work with Nick Tosches, one of my favorite living writers, and we both shared a friendship with the late Hubert Selby, Jr., which has sentimental value for me, and that project also led to a preface to the book by Richard Hell, not only another living hero of mine, but also, in fact, a fellow native Kentuckian.
What is your favorite thing to draw, and why?
Women’s legs. The answer of “why” is so existential/elemental, I’m not certain I can answer it in this/one lifetime.
You can find more on Dockery’s website.
Henry and Glenn Forever and Ever was an art-show at Mission Comics in San Francisco collecting comic-style artwork from the cult-hit slash-fiction graphic novel by Tom Neely and friends that takes an intimate look at the domestic lives of Henry (Rollins) and Glenn (Danzig). For additional information, please contact avi