HOLMSTROM, John et al. [Archive of Seven Original Color Cartoon Drawings]. [New York], 1980. Pen, pencil and colored ink on paper. Various sizes. Includes three example of “Detective Noodles,” three of “Bosko” (above), and on of “One Day at the Kink Shop.” Near fine.
At the time he helped launch PUNK in 1975, John Holmstrom was studying cartooning under Will Eisner and Harvey Kurtzman at the School of Visual Art and Holmstrom’s background helped define the look and feel of PUNK from the start. The first issue, with Holmstrom’s indelible Lou Reed cover, set the pace. As Jon Savage described:
"Its cover story was an interview with Lou Reed about his current record METAL MACHINE MUSIC, but, instead of a photo, there was a wickedly accurate cartoon of Reed as metal man: the feature inside was not typeset but told in fumetti. ‘I wanted to see something new in comics,’ says Holmstrom, ‘it fitted the music. Johnny Ramone would always wear cartoon logo T-shirts.’ In issue number one of PUNK, the surrounding artwork is as important as important as Reed’s insults […] When the interviewers follow Reed down the block, there they are in cartoons. The effect was both immediate and distanced, a formal innovation on par with MAD magazine" (ENGLAND’S DREAMING p. 132).
This fumetti technique (which Holmstrom almost certainly picked up from Kutzman’s HELP! magazine) would be utilized throughout PUNK’S tenure and was one of its signatures. Indeed, the comic served in no small part as the blueprint for the visual vocabulary of the magazine. And in addition to Holmstrom, the periodical was a valuable forum for underground comix as well, publishing R. Crumb and Bobby London. Working alone and in various collaborative combinations (with associate editor Bruce Carleton, contributing editor Ken Weiner, and “den mother” Pat Ragan), Holmstrom’s cartoons graced the majority of the magazine’s covers, and various strips were a PUNK staple.
By late 1979, however, PUNK Magazine had slipped into “hiatus” for financial reasons. So Holmstrom, Ragan, Carleton, and Weiner tried to come up with comic strip ideas they might be able to sell “to keep us solvent.” The original strips here offered are in part the result of these efforts. Three examples are from Holmstrom’s most recognizable creation, “Bosko,” who appeared in various periodicals throughout the early 80’s, including the Village Voice, the East Village Eye, High Times, and elsewhere. Another three are from the “Detective Noodles” series, a satire of the hard-boiled private detective (one of which appeared in STOP #3). The final example, “One Day At The Kink Shop,” appears to be a one-off.
Aside from the one strip, we have been unable to determine if any others have appeared in print. Nonetheless, a vivid selection of original comic art from the end of the first decade of punk, from one of its cornerstone artists and key figures.