Comics Time: Your Disease Spread Quick


Your Disease Spread Quick

Tom Neely, writer/artist

characters and dialogue inspired by the album (A) Senile Animal by the Melvins

Robotic Boot, Summer 2008

22 pages


Visit Neely’s website

You don’t need to listen to the Melvins to appreciate Your Disease Spread Work as further evidence, as if any were needed after The Blot, that Tom Neely is working the most fruitful vein of horror-slash-artcomics since Al Columbia. Like Columbia, Neely’s work borrows stylistic elements from masterful old black-and-white kids’ cartoonists like Otto Mesmer and Floyd Gottfredson, then harnesses it to a unique vocabulary of monstrousness and murder. While Columbia tends toward intimate horror in the work of his I’ve seen, Neely’s best stuff is characterized by a tendency to scale upward and outward at breakneck speed, with threats suddenly emerging as colossal if not outright apocalyptic.

YDSQ addresses that tendency head-on, beginning and ending with words of woe from a doomsday prophesier with the head of a horse. In between we encounter decapitations, an infernal saloon populated with infamous tyrants, Neely’s trademark black-ink blots, a sequence reminiscent of that old 7-Up mascot Spot crossed with H.P. Lovecraft, the Big Bad Wolf, a ghoul, a thunderbird, a Fritz Lang-style robot bride, a mummified Baby Herman type, scenes of everyday depravity, and more. At no point does any of this arrive from a predictable direction or feel anything less than profoundly discomfiting. It adds up to a portrait of great unease with the direction of society, coupled with a gallows humor about it all (there’s a Hostess ad parody on the back cover to cleanse the palate). What it has to do with the Melvins I may never know, but it works as both an ad for the band and a statement completely independent of them.

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3 Responses to Comics Time: Your Disease Spread Quick

  1. “…Tom Neely is working the most fruitful vein of horror-slash-artcomics since Al Columbia.”

    Seems like Josh Simmons should be in that sentence somewhere. I didn’t know this was out, or coming out at all; thanks for the heads up.

  2. Simmons would be the runner-up. I did think of him when I wrote that!

    Tom actually sent me a little explanation of when and where this would be widely available but I just moved and I think I threw it out…

  3. tomN! says:

    Hey Sean- thanks for the great review!

    The book will first be available as part of a 4xLP Melvins Box Set of the album “A Senile Animal” due from Hydra Head Records any day now (sorry, still no release date- there is some sort of hold-up with the vinyl production).

    After that is released, the comic will be available on its own from me (at conventions and my website- and through the Hydra Head Records store-

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