The Artist Himself: A Rand Holmes Retrospective (Paperback) by Patrick Rosenkranz (Author)
Rand Holmes’ hippie hero, Harold Hedd, became the internationally famous spokesman for the emerging Canadian counterculture. Holmes preferred a lower profile. The Artist Himself: A Rand Holmes Retrospective biography/retrospective includes generous selections from his private journals and correspondence, family photo albums, sketchbooks spanning 25 years, and personal anecdotes from his friends and colleagues. His artistic history began in Edmonton, flourished in Vancouver and San Francisco, and concluded on Lasqueti Island. Holmes’ life story is richly illustrated with drawings, comic strips, watercolors, and paintings that span his whole career: from the hot rod cartoons he drew as a teenager, dozens of covers for the Georgia Straight, pornographic cartoons for the sex tabloid Vancouver Star, to complete comic stories from Slow Death Funnies, Dead Comix, and many more. The full-length Harold Hedd comic novels, Wings Over Tijuana and Hitler’s Cocaine are reprinted in their entirety together for the first time. A DVD documentary about a retrospective exhibition of his original work accompanies this book.
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (August 30, 2009)
The extraordinarily gifted and chronically underpaid Georgia Straight illustrator, cartoonist and comic book artist Rand Holmes of Lasqueti Island died at age 60 in 2002. His Harold Hedd comics are collectors’ items and he was respected across North America in the Sixties and Seventies as a peer of cartoonist Robert Crumb (Mr Natural) and Gilbert Shelton (Furry Freak Brothers). Patrick Rosenkranz of Portland, Oregon, is compiling a biography and a retrospective art book devoted to Holmes’ career, to be published by Fantagraphics Books. Cannabis Culture magazine just ran a profile on Holmes and his art show that was exhibited on Lasqueti Island in March of 2007. [Contact: Patrick Rosenkranz, 1211 SW 58th Avenue, Portland, OR. 97221, Telephone 503-241-8317 or email@example.com]
Rand Holmes Publications ChecklistChecklist of Rand Holmes Published Comic Work (separate from his extensive work for the Georgia Straight, Vancouver Free Press and Vancouver Star).
Compiled by Patrick Rosenkranz
Benchracer 1962-63 “Out To Lunch”
Help! Magazine (2) (circa 1963) gag cartoons
Hot Rod & Drag Cartoons (circa 1965-66)
Georgia Straight/Vancouver Free Press (1971-1980)
Vancouver Star (1978-9?)
Collected Adventures of Harold Hedd 1972 GS & Last Gasp editions
Anus Clenching Adventure with Harold Hedd 1973 “Wings Over Tijuana”
White Lunch Comix #1 1972 Covers
“Baldric the Barbarian”
“Vegetable of the Week”
All Canadian Beaver Comix #1 1973 Cover & “Harold Hedd’s Bike Song”
“Continuing Adventures of Harold Hedd
Slow Death #5 1973 Cover & “Museum Piece”
Slow Death #6 1974 Cover & inside front & “Raw Meat”
Slow Death #8 1977 Back Cover – Greenpeace Whale
The Image of the Beast 1973 Inside back – Last Gasp ad
Berkeley Con Program Book 1973 Ads – Harold Hedd and Slow Death
Tales from the Berkeley Con 1974 Covers (2) & Last Gasp Ad
A History of Underground Comics 1974 Front & Back covers
Title pages (2)
Head Magazine 9/76 Harold Hedd (cats prevent bust)
Head Magazine 11/76 GreenpeaceWhale
High Times #3 1975 8-page condensed “Wings over Tijuana”
Cheri magazine 10/76 RH Interview w/illo
5/77 Basement Man strip
Fog City Comics #1 1977 Cover & “Nip and Tuck in Anal Antics”
Fog City Comics #2 1978 Cover & inside front (self-portrait)
“Killer Planet” (black & white)
Inside back – Stampart Ad
“Close Encounters of the Turd Kind
Fog City Comics #3 1979 Cover & Inside front
“The Artist Himself” (black & white)
GS Cover – SciFi convention
GS Cover – Merry Christmas
GS Cover – Lobotomy
Back cover – Stampart Ad
No Ducks #2 1979 “Star Rats” (George Metzger) (single panel)
Harold Hedd: Hitler’s Cocaine #1 1984
Harold Hedd: Hitler’s Cocaine #2 1984
Alien Worlds #8 1984 “Stony End”
3D Alien Worlds 1985 “Spaceman Go Home”
Twisted Tales #2 1983 “Speed Demons”
Twisted Tales #5 1984 “Banjo Lessons”
Kitchen Sink Press
Gay Comix #1 1980 Cover
Dope Comix #4 1981 Cover
Death Rattle #1 1985 “Killer Planet” (color)
Death Rattle #2 1985 “The Artist Himself” (color)
Death Rattle #4 1986 Cover & “Power of Prayer” (color)
Death Rattle #5 1986 Cover & “Junkyard Dog” (color)
Death Rattle #6 1986 “Cat Calls”
Death Rattle #9 1987 Cover & “Child of the Media”
Death Rattle #10 1987 “Side Show”
Death Rattle #11 1987 “Keep the Home Fires Burning”
Death Rattle #14 1988 “Bummer”
Death Rattle #17 1988 Cover & “Slide Sinner Slide”
Snarf #11 1989 Cover & “Basement Man in Latex Love”
“Carrotoons” (color back cover)
Grateful Dead Comix #2 1991 “The Lille Story”
Grateful Dead Comix 1992 Paperback collection, includes “The Lille Story”
Confessions of a Cereal Eater! 1995 “Mean Old Man”
Home » CC Magazine Feature Articles
Vancouver’s Hippie Cartoonist: Rand Holmes
By Marc Emery. Posted on Thursday, September 4 2008 12:58:50 PM CC Magazine Feature Articles
Cartoonist Rand Holmes created teh underground ’70s stoner comic Harold Hedd and is the artist behind BC’s Lasqueti Island Marijuana leaf coin currency.
Rand Holmes was born in Nova Scotia on February 22, 1942 and arrived in Vancouver in 1969, where he would introduce the pot-smoking comic character Harold Hedd to the west coast’s laid-back hippies. In 1982 he would leave Vancouver when that lifestyle came into disrepute, and retreated – as many did then – to the Gulf Islands between Vancouver Island and the mainland. Rand Holmes spent his last 20 years with his wife Martha on Lasqueti island before succumbing to Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 60. Holmes lived a simple life on Lasqueti, a place with no outside source of energy or electricity; all power on the island is from solar panels or wind-turbine generators. The 400 residents are like a giant, wholesome family. It takes an hour of crossing the turbulent Georgia Strait waters by ferry to get to Lasqueti, a trip required to attend the fifth anniversary of Rand Holmes’ death, an art show called the Rand Holmes Retrospective. I tolerated my sea-faring nausea on March 17th to travel to Lasqueti and pay respect to Vancouver’s cannabis culture cartoonist.
(The rest of the article here)
Rand Holmes – “Pot growing family”
From Dave Sim’s Blog:
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Dave Sim’s blogandmail #408 (October 24th, 2007)
Apart from my one-hour signing (and thanks again to all five people who showed up) the only other thing I was scheduled for was the Tribute to Rand Holmes panel Saturday morning with Jeet Heer and Rand Holmes son, Ron. Very small turnout – the place really emptied out after the Finding Nemo panel — but among the audience members were Robert Fulford, Chester and Chris Oliveiros, the Drawn & Quarterly publisher. The panels were all held in the second floor chapel (or “chapel” as the boys would have it in the program booklet). Odd to think that it’s less than a hundred years since the day when no self-respecting gentleman’s college would be without its chapel. Jeet started things off by explaining that the artwork in the presentation featured nudity and explicit sex, so if anyone was of a strict religious persuasion and was apt to be offended he suggested that they should probably leave before we got started. So, I got up to leave. Which I think might have gotten a laugh, but my hearing’s so bad, I might have imagined that part.
Ron had a lot of artwork done in powerpoint format and since I really only knew the oversized “Collected Adventures” tabloid collection (which I bought new at Now & Then Books back in ’72) and the comic-book sized “Hitler’s Cocaine” second issue it was quite an eye-opening experience to see all of the alternative newspaper Georgia Straight covers Holmes had done during the same time period in that same amazing, meticulous Wally Wood style (Georgia Straight is a play on Georgia Strait, the body of water between the mainland and Vancouver Island) On stage, I basically just described how difficult the Wally Wood style is to do and attempted to point out the feathering on one of the covers but (I’ve had this problem before) you can’t get it with slides or scans or enlargements. So I tried to describe it as best I could.
I had no idea that Rand Holmes was a real Daniel Boone back-to-nature type. I knew he had bought a place on a remote island off British Columbia (north of Washington State on the “left coast” for the geographically challenged among you) only because I had gotten an invitation earlier this year to a retrospective that included the notation “Please RSVP if you plan to come as this is a remote community and transportation and accommodation need to be pre-arranged.” Had this been back in the “gravy train” days I would have been there like a shot. Alas, it was about four months into having to run this whole operation solo and there was just no way I could justify the expense.
It turns out that Holmes used to work on his comics for six months of the year and then basically would just live off the land for the other six months of the year. Since my idea of “roughing it” is black-and-white television, I found that pretty impressive. There is an “Art of” book in the works right now and Ron talked about that a bit, as well as showing slides of Holmes’ later paintings which he had switched to pretty much completely from comics work in the last decade of his life.
By Wil Forbis
August 1, 2005
Twisted Highlights: Issue 5
Issue 5 began with a page long editorial from P.C. editor April Campbell clarifying the comic company’s official policy towards racism. (They were against it.) This was because the final fable of the issue, “Banjo Lessons”, which would become the most infamous story of the entire series. Drawn in a campy noir style by artist Rand Holmes, the tale detailed a man being charged with the murder of his three best friends. He explains his ill will as having originated from a hunting trip with his comrades years earlier wherein the men had gotten stuck in a snowbound cabin and were forced to eat a ‘coon dog one of the men owned. (This scene was shown in a rather grim panel where the dog is served up with an apple in his mouth.) By after being hammered by his defense attorney the man reveals the true incident – it was not a dog the men ate, but their black hunting guide. (In the corrected version, he too is served up with an apple in his mouth.)
Only the most committed racist could have possibly found the story to be an advocate of bigotry, and in the letters column on issue 7, one reader called out Twisted Tales over their hemming and hawing over what they were presenting. He said, “I’m certain ‘Banjo Lessons’ was deeply felt by Bruce and Rand when the approached the story. And I understand April and Pacific Comics concern that none of their readers concern the story with a pro-racism story. But the approach of the story was so, ‘Isn’t this terrible, my, shouldn’t we all feel guilty about this, there’s a lesson to be learned by all of us,’ that it comes off as just another horror story.”
I’m very excited about this book because I haven’t bought any Rand Holmes comix since those two issues of Hitler’s Cocaine in the ’80s. I first read Rand Holmes around 1975, Harold Hedd, and found it thrilling and funny even though I was just a kid. It was great that I could get away with reading this stuff because it was just comics and my parents thought comics were for children, so I got to warp my mind on some fine comix in those days. Crumb and Shelton too.
But my parents wouldn’t let me see the animated feature film, “Fritz the Cat”, it was what you Americans would call R, maybe it was even X in America, though perhaps not, being just a cartoon. Anyway, Crumb hated what he saw on the screen so much that he killed off the character Fritz the Cat in the comix to punish the film company.
I just found out it was rated X in the States:
Fritz the Cat (1972), Ralph Bakshi, A- Jordan | Jordan Hoffman’s Movie Journal | Tuesday, February 20th, 2007
Two shocking things. First: no, I’d never seen this before. In fact, other than the first reel or so of “Lord of the Rings” I’ve not seen *any* film by Ralph Bakshi. (I know, I know.) Second: this movie is actually good on its own merits — not just as shock value or a late-60s curiosity. But. . .as a late 60s curiosity. . .it is awesome!!!!. Two of my main fascinations is late 60s counter culture and its politics and New York City. So. . . when these two topics collide, I get quite giddy. (I find little mirth in London or San Francisco hippies. . .but longhairs on St. “Marx” Place get me very happy.) Anyway, Fritz, the assholic, date-raping, joint-sucking, negro-enchanted, vaguely-leftist NYU-attending cat has a number of far-out adventures. Best are the ones where real people were brought in to a studio to “rap in the mike” and the scene was later animated. All of the drawings of NYC are just beautiful. And Skip Hinnant, the voice of Fritz (and later of many, many children’s shows), has a real understanding of the “I-kinda-get-it” student who yearns for bohemianism so much that he’s rendered unable to find it. Sexist, racist, anti-Semetic, needlessly violent and morally ambivalent — this movie is *waaaay more* than cats fucking. But there are a lot of cats fucking. That’s fun, too.
I think you might find that if you’ve seen one late 60s/early 70s Ralph Bakshi flick, you’ve seen them all. I’m pretty luke warm on Fritz the Cat, albeit I haven’t seen it since college days … one of those “campus” flicks the film society would show in a rented-out classroom on the weekend, along with all those early John Waters flicks.
Heavy Traffic is pretty blah. Some really cool images, but a lot of it is too trippy and meandering. I thought Coonskin was much better. (And apparently harder to find … although the ubiquitous Entertainment Outlet stores have it in the “Black Cinema” section for $7.99 … and this is clearly a copy bootlegged from a VHS and somehow packaged with the original graphics. Not sure of the legalities of this, but I suspect a lot of blaxploitation flicks may follow suit.)
To add to your 60s NYC hippie vibe, I recommend getting into The Fugs. Those guys were out there — the best example of that place and time.
Comment by Bill R — February 21, 2007 @ 6:53 am
Without question — I think I graded this so high because I expected it to be unwatchable.
Comment by Jordan — February 21, 2007 @ 7:21 am
Bill R has reminded me that I haven’t got any Fugs in the collection. Fugi, yes, even Fugees, but no Fugs. I’ve known about this cult band for twenty years but still haven’t bought anything by them.
So what do you think of Rand Holmes? And Robert Crumb, Raph Bakshi, Fritz the Cat, and The Fugs? Isn’t it great how one thing leads to another.
Must buy Fritz the Cat DVD and The Fugs First Album.