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Reel Independence With Troma: Sam Kieth

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By Unkie Dev

Lloyd Kaufman. To some he’s a film god, the David to Hollywood’s Goliath providing sharp, urbane horror and comedy to a public tired of the white-washed crumbs of the mainstream cinema. To others he’s a crass schlockmyseter, a sad, self aggrandizing turd polisher who couldn’t even reach the levels of Corman or Myers as an auteur but who’s publicity eclipses them both.

I think that’s the way he likes it.

To me, Lloyd Kaufman will always be the second worst boss I’ve ever had.
For two months in the fall of 2004 I was Lloyd Kaufman’s personal assistant. He goes through them like tissue paper. By Lloyd’s own admission “I’m a terrible boss to work for. I’m doing you a favor for firing you!”

Lloyd’s visit to the store for a midnight Blu Ray release of Poultry Geist: Night of the Chicken Dead scheduled for Monday the 22nd has me nostalgic for those wild days of yesteryear. The coolest thing about Troma, hands down? The office!


THIS is AMAZING! Drop by sometimes, they’re all pretty friendly, if not busy, and will let you peek-a-boo if you’re a fan! Movie props abound, as well as Troma memorabilia from the good times and the bad. Amongst the severed heads, hands and buckets of blood you’ll find awards, rewards and citations. One of the walls sports a framed, original Sam Kieth cover to Toxic Crusaders #1, the licensed comic book from the licensed cartoon based on Troma’s almost x-rated films from the 80’s. Ah, the 80’s, when Rambo, Chuck Norris and Lloyd Kaufman all had kid’s shows.

Hey, Speaking of Sam Kieth:

Sam Kieth: The Sketchbooks Vol. 1, Sam Kieth (A), IDW

Don’t get me started on the Maxx, another great comic that made the jump from spinner rack to television via Mtv’s animation. I LOVE the Maxx! This lead to me reading every piece of Sam Kieth’s work I could get my hands on…there’s one thing you’re going to notice across a few issues. The art is TOP NOTCH, and a more versatile and experimental illustrator you won’t find everyday. As a writer and storyteller, however? Hmmmm, not so much.

That’s why I’m thrilled that IDW is publishing Sam’s sketchbooks! EVERY comic book artist should give this title a glance: Just because coloring is mostly done digitally doesn’t mean you can’t learn a few tricks from one of the BEST comics painters. Sam’s colors were always so vivid and vibrant! He’d saturate a page with the brightest pinks, greens and yellows you could find, but he knew just how to shade and balance his other colors to compliment, not compete.

And his materials? PLEASE! Let me use a line right out of the press release for this book when I tell you that Sam would throw anything at a page, whether it was “pen, pencil, brush, feathers, straws, twigs, watercolor, acrylic, glue, sand, mud, grease, dirt, garbage, and any other debris handy.”


Troma films are cheaply made and cheap in appearance, but they are rich in silly, and practically filthy rich in gore, guffaws and the innovative techniques of gonzo horror and guerrilla film making.

Yes, Lloyd Kaufman was a bastard as a boss, but the guy can always deliver a fun picture. Sam Kieth, Lloyd Kaufman, these artists aren’t for everyone. For those of us who dig the innovative, the bizarre and the fun of something absolutely “out-there” I’ll take them ANY DAY!

hing and constantly berates them.

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