February 11, 2011

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The Man Who Beat Up Daniel Johnston

Written by Bill Volk
Illustrated by Bill Volk
Self-Published

In light of the forthcoming Daniel Johnston comic, I thought it might be fun to look at Daniel Johnston as the main character in someone else's mini-comic. In this case, it's a 24 hour comic by Bill Volk, centering around the idea of a man who beats up the singer-songwriter at the request of Satan.

The comic is rather strange, and its made all the stranger by having a pink cover with neon green pages. The fight sequence is fanciful, and Satan is portrayed as looking rather like Billy Corrigan from the Smashing Pumpkins. As we see, the Devil wants Johnston to stay in Austin at any cost, though the reasons remain mysterious.

Volk's art is quick and sketchy, as you might expect in a 24 hour comic production. We have this one because my wife is a big fan of Johnston (I'm sorry, I don't see the appeal), and it's a cute story that from what I understand from her does in fact tie in to a longstanding concern of Johnston himself, namely the role of Satan in his life. Johnston definitely has mental issues, but I appreciate that Volk doesn't use them for comedy here--he's treating this as straightforward as the real life protagonist might have done.

I don't know if Daniel Johnston knows there's a mini-c0mic out there about him, but if you're a fan of the man and see this sitting in a comic shop somewhere, grab it. It's definitely a neat piece of trivia. If you want to know more about Bill Volk, you can check out his website. There's no mention of this comic, but there are some other neat artistic features to check out.