Thursday, December 31, 2015


I just checked my email only to find a message titled "Worried Sick" from someone named "Heidi". I happen to know a Heidi, so I clicked on it immediately.

The message, it turns out, was not from my Heidi. Instead, it was a digital shake of the beggin' cup from the Republican leadership campaign of Ted Cruz, mailed out as sponsored SPAM from the conservative movementarian website The Daily Caller, and ostensibly penned by Ted's wife, the Heidi in question.

The main thrust of this missive is that the Cruz campaign needs to raise over a quarter million dollars before midnight tonight, on this final day of 2015, or else the Good Lord is going to call Ted home, or something.

No, wait! I'm getting my right-wing crackpots mixed up. That was some other guy, Oral Roberts I think, back in the 1980's. At the time, he claimed he was given this fundraising ultimatum by a towering, 900-foot-tall Jesus whilst meditating in the desert.

Heidi's message doesn't contain anything quite so Southern Gothic; but there is a certain something about it... a certain frantic edge, a tone of barely concealed dread while hinting at potentially damaging revelations to come, leaving the reader with the distinct impression that the good ship Cruz may be hitting some choppy waters in the days ahead. 

Check out the text of Heidi's appeal for yourself. Here it is, with all misspellings and typographical errors left intact, as I believe these add a certain Elmer Gantry, Face in the Crowd touch of paradoxically authentic phoniness. 
Ted needs your help. 
Ted is under an all-out assault on his campaign, his values, and even him personally. Attacks are coming from all sides -- Republican and Democrat -- and of course the liberal media. 
Ted won't tell you this but I will -- please stop what you are doing and read below.
Here is the situation, and it worries me: 
1) We just received inside information that Iowa Super PACs -- funded by Republicans -- are planning to spend millions attacking Ted's policy and character. 
2) Hillary is personally attacking Ted's strong stand for American families. She openly speaks of her distain for Ted's values and is attacking him in front of millions online. 
3) The media is getting personal. The Washington Post published a despicable attack on my children. Both Ted and I are determined to protect our children from their shameless attacks. 
4) We now have only 18 hours left before the media starts their full scale "exploration" into our campaign finances. Thumbing through thousands of financial papers to find any weakness and mislead Americans. 
Friend, I don’t know any other man who is prepared to fight these political assaults, stand up to the personal attacks, and still provide a positive vision for America.
I admit I'm biased, but Ted is the man we need to restore America. 
One more thing: every dollar, every prayer and word of encouragement means the world to Ted and me. 
Today is the final day of 2015, and Ted could sure use your support right now more than ever. 
Click Here: 2015 STOP-GAP DONATION >>> 
You see, he's confided in me that he must raise another $349,394 dollars beforemidnight tonight -- less than 18 hours from now. 
That is a big shortfall. 
I know there is no way you -- or any one person -- can cover that entire balance, but if you could just make one last 2015 Stop-Gap donation, both Ted and I would be in your debt. 
If we close the books and Ted is still short, it could mean the difference between winning and losing this campaign. 
Click Here: 2015 STOP-GAP DONATION >>> 
I know it's a lot to ask, but can Ted and I count on you one last time in 2015? 
Heidi Cruz
Pretty weird, right?  I mean, on one level, it's a pretty typical example of conservative movement playbook propaganda: demonizing the so-called liberal media, whining about how any criticism of one's policies amounts to an "assault" on one's "values", forever playing the victim, using one's family as human shields... nothing new about all that.

But then there's that bit about an upcoming "full scale exploration" of the Cruz campaign's finances, and an immediate warning about how those who will be conducting this exploration are sure to try and "mislead Americans" in some way.

So, what do you think? Doth the lady protest too much? Is the Cruz campaign trying to get ahead of a scandal that they know is going to break at any moment? And are they trying to confuse, misdirect, or cushion the blow with this limited hangout foreshadowing statement?

If so, what kind of scandal is it going to be this time?  Yet another perverted Republican sex scandal? As if we haven't had enough of those in recent years. I guess it could be some sort of financial crime, but seeing as the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision four years ago has basically decriminalized bribery, any fiscal mischief would have to be something pretty freaking massive to qualify as an actual scandal.

So what do you think? Either leave your guesses in the comments section below, or drop me a line at the usual place. Until next time, keep your eyes on this space!

yer old pal Jerky

PS - Just in case you need a reminder of just exactly who (and what) it is I'm writing about, above, then take the time to watch this series of outtakes from a Ted Cruz campaign commercial shot this year, featuring his entire family, including his wife, kids (he's got a lot of them!), his mom, and his dad.  You get a tiny glimpse of the man's full measure. It certainly isn't anything upon which anyone should base their entire opinion of him. But it is enough to give us an inkling that, to put it as delicately as I can... something about Ted Cruz is just plain off.


In the summer of 1993, after graduating from Mount Allison University in Canada's Maritimes, three friends and I (with a little help from a few other fine folks) set out on a bold adventure when we decided to publish a literary and general interest magazine, and charge absolutely nothing for it.

In other words, we were doing the VICE Magazine thing a full year before that current global media empire's humble beginnings as the free Voice of Montreal (before Gavin and crew discovered the ambition-boosting power of pharmaceutical grade cocaine).

Peter, Erica, Nick and I gave our humble mag the fitting name of FREE Magazine, and set about writing, selling ads, illustrating, conducting interviews, editing, calling in favors, assembling, accounting, printing, mailing out subscription copies, and even physically delivering bundles to distrubutors all over New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Over the span of that summer, we worked our butts off. Unfortunately, in the end, we just couldn't make the math work out for us, and after putting out four issues that I, for one, thought we could be proud of, we decided to pack it in and go our separate ways.

In the years since, the Internet happened, and I guess I'd always assumed that one of us would eventually migrate our work over to an online archive of some sort. That never happened, so now, after more than 20 years, I've decided to be the one to do it. So keep your eyes on this space for full scans of every issue, starting with the first one this week, in all its primitive, low-resolution, PageMaker 2.0-style glory! I also hope that my compatriots Nick Lenco, Erica Butler, and Peter Morrison will chime in with remembrances of their own (fingers crossed).

As a bit of a teaser-taster to whet your appetite for this time traveller's treat, here is a covers gallery for you. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 27, 2015


Part of this blog involves keeping former Daily Dirt readers abreast of their old pal Jerky's latest endeavors. Therefore, I am pleased to announce that I have recently completed a series of seven black and white illustrations, commissioned by one of the authors of an upcoming non-fiction book, the specific subject of which I've been asked to keep secret until the publication date is finalized.

As a bibliophile, I am particularly pleased that this is going to be a bona fide, paper and ink, physical BOOK, rather than a website or an ebook or a blog post or that sort of digital ephemera, and that I'm going to receive a proper cover credit for my contribution.

Needless to say, as soon as I possibly can, I will be updating the DDD with information about the title, the subject matter, perhaps a sample chapter, and a list of realworld and online retail outlets where one can purchase a copy or three. In the meantime, however, please enjoy the above bouquet of illustrations; the end result of hours of research, sketching, penciling and inking.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


While scanning Facebook just over two years ago, I came across an update by comics industry legend Stephen Bissette that stopped me in my tracks. It was an eye-popping image of a hulking, helmeted barbarian wielding multiple bladed weapons with which he was expertly vivisecting a gnarly horde of subhuman riff-raff. A scantily clad vixen, wide-eyed and terrified, surveyed the carnage.

It was love at first sight. I needed to know more.

It only took a few clicks to get the basics. The artist was Jason Karns, who’s been self-publishing his unique brand of balls-to-the-wall, blood-dripping-from-the-ceiling comic books for over a decade. After putting out a number of one-off stories in a wide range of genres, he recently decided to publish his work under a single brand name; a title that he felt best expressed his artwork and storytelling: FUKITOR.

Nazi scientists unleashing genetically modified gorilla shock troops on unsuspecting G.I. Joes; cannibal Satanists and zombie royalty sharing a feast of wriggling female flesh; a psychotic, trigger-happy detective leaving bloody piles of collateral damage in his wake; butt-raping Bat-Apes from Pluto… It’s all FUKITOR. And it’s fucking glorious.

Karns is a one-man show. He is FUKITOR’s sole creator, hand-crafting every issue, from the initial plotting all the way down to the trimming and stapling. And he does it all from his small hometown in Illinois, where he daylights as a barkeep. He has toiled anonymously for years, designing the occasional t-shirt, or gig posters for local rock bands, honing his skills and producing beautiful work of rare quality and power, quite content to remain an unknown quantity, obscure even by the dim lights of independent comics publishing… until recently.