Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wichita: Nu-Ways and Ghost Signs

Nu-Way is a crumbly beef sandwich that's been a Wichita staple since the thirties. I stopped eating them years ago on trips home because they'd become disgustingly greasy at the suburban franchise outlets, which were also stupid-looking, fake-retro-fifties-diner-hellholes. So when my old pal Brian Curtis and his beautiful wife Mel (too good for him, but that's another post) suggested my brother and I meet them at the original West Wichita location, I thought I'd come along and drink a coffee while the others ate.
But I ended up ordering one anyway. Holy fuck! It was great. Moist but not greasy, made the original way with steam and onions and lean ground beef. Again, Holy fuck, Batman. I inhaled that bastard in the dingy splendor of the somewhat dilapidated building where the thing was invented. Apparently the franchisees decided to go with the greasy version of the sandwich (old-timers inform me that in the old days you could ask for dry or greasy) while the original owners opted for the dry. Here's Brian chewing:

Brian and Mel spent exactly two hours in Wichita; the Nu-Way was their main destination. Long live the Nu-Way.

And here's a lovely ghost sign I shot on the way back to the folks's house:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

And now, the Deluge

Came back from Wichita with a whole lot of weird stuff to post. First, here's an addition to the collection of Creepy Law Enforcement Figurines.

Strictly speaking, they're Pinkertons and therefore private security, but close enough. This was in a Wichita Flea market. Next, from another thrift store, my brother's major find of the holiday season
That's right, it's a ghostly image of Der Bingle himself. I love how he looks a little surprised, a little scared, and a little bit delighted to boot. And check out that hair! Click to enlarge and savor it in all its Crobyite glory.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Elves Control the Means of Production

It's been a while since I posted anything, but I wanted to take a moment and wish you all the happiest of holidays. In the spirit of the season here's a little virtual card for you all. See you next year.

Monday, November 16, 2009

An Amazing Movie

ST. NICK Review, SXSW 2009
I just had the privilege of being a juror for the New Filmmakers Showcase at the St. Louis International Film Festival and I'm pleased to say that the film we selected out of five entries was "St. Nick," directed by David Lowery and starring Tucker and Savannah Sears as two preteen runaways who move into an abandoned house and try to make it their home. Lowery has been compared , rightly, to David Gordon Green and Terence Malick, but watching the film I thought of Albert LaMorrisse's "the Red Ballon" and René Clément's "Forbidden Games." Apart from those two I can't think of a movie that captures so well a child's point of view, unsentimental and inventive. Moving slowly and with very little dialogue, it won't please everyone, but I predict great things from Lowery. Some distributor should pick this up fast.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Name this Comic

Here's an inked page from the forthcoming, untitled comic I'm working on with Roger Petersen....ain't it purty? We're still looking for a title, something hotel-related....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

boorishness at Bouchercon

In the top photo, Victor Gischler leers as Anthony Neil Smith prepares to cop a feel from Stacia Decker, who seconds later will beat the living piss right out of him; next, David Hale Smith and Duane Swierczinski decide they've taken about enough shit out of me; and finally, Dennis Tafoya and Theresa Schwegel mug for the camera. This last was meant to be sent to their mutual editor, but I forgot who that was.

Friday, October 23, 2009

More Pencils from Petersen

Still no title for this thing, but check out the throwing arm on old Belle, and the suave nonchalance of her middle-aged boy toy as he dodges that ashtray: "Lobby please, Dawson." These have since been inked and are being colored but I haven't seen them yet. Click to enlarge!

Monday, October 19, 2009

More Rathskeller!

Top: Agent to the Stars David Hale Smith, Dapper Dan O'Shea, and the lovely Theresa Schwegel; 2nd, the chipper Anthony Neil Smith, old sobersides Victor Gischler, and Kieran "I Like Scaring Little Old Ladies" Shea; 3rd, parts of D. O'Shea and the always classy T. Schwegel; and finally the imperturbable Jon McGoran (D.H. Dublin, to the public). A good sudsy time was had by all.

Roger Petersen, resident genius

Here's a xerox of a penciled page from my collaboration with Roger Petersen, inching its way toward pitchability. Click to enlarge and inhale its awesomeness. And if any good titles occur to you, pass them on...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Beauty and the Beasts

Left to right: uber-agent Stacia Decker, old-lady-frightening writer Kieran Shea, mega-agent David Hale Smith, up-and-coming sicko novelist John Rector, and King of Comics Duane Swierczinski, from DHS's Bouchercon party at Indianapolis's Rathskeller, a building designed by Kurt Vonnegut's grandfather. More pictures to come soon, along with some pencil pages from Roger Petersen for this comic we're soon going to have to come up with a title for.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


This is from 1985, an exterminator's window in les Halles in Paris. Les Halles was once the city's main food market, and was a real magnet for vermin. The rats in the window were caught and taxidermed...taxidermied...stuffed in the 1920s. I'm not sure whether the shop is there any more, but I've always liked the Atget-esque aspect of this picture. The scan is a pointed reminder to me that I need a better negative scanner, as I have any number of better prints of this same negative hidden away in dark corners of my abode.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Midway, '80s style

Took these pictures at the Kansas State Fair with my brother, circa 1986. Some nice carny stuff, most of which still lies buried in the vault. The top attraction had a particularly memorable barker, and my brother and I stood around for quite a while listening to him say "Timple of Doooom. Tim-pull of Dooooom! Timple of Doooom!" before we finally paid up, went inside and found that it was a pretty uninspiring reptile show. The memory of the barker lingers, though.

Click, as always, to enlarge....

Friday, October 2, 2009


These are two of a series of twenty slightly ribald postcards featuring the Manneken-Pis of Brussels, possibly the world's most disappointing tourist attraction. As the above cards show, it's a tiny statue of a little boy pissing into a fountain. No one really knows why it's there, though it's been suggested that it commemorates a kid putting out a fire in a similar manner. Anyway, since the early twentieth century these postcards have been on sale across the street. Mostly they feature older ladies--nuns, spinsters and unsatisfied wives--gazing longingly at the little bastard's junk.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kirby's Beer Store

Here's a shot circa 1989 of future Ph.D. Mark Munzinger behind the bar at Kirby's, back in the days when he and Richard Davies owned and operated the place. More to come, including some shots of the obscene men's room graffiti from that long lost era. Click to enlarge and savor the unsavory details.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Juri Nemmelin, my editor at the Finnish publisher Banaani Pokkari, just sent me this cover for my approval of their upcoming edition of "The Ice Harvest." Fucking lovely, innit?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What to Read Next

Megan Abbott's "Bury Me Deep" (Simon and Schuster) is the best of her four books so far, no mean feat, that. It's based on the true story of Winnie Ruth Judd, who became infamous in the '30s as the Trunk Murderess. Megan captures the flavor of depression-era Phoenix beautifully, and supplies a plausible (fictional) solution to the question of whether Winnie did it and why. But the real triumph of the book is Winnie's fictional stand-in, Marion Seeley, and her intense relationships with the two women who will end up in those notorious trunks, and with Joe Lanigan, a wealthy businessman who charms the step-ins right off her.

So go to your local independent bookseller and buy the damned thing already.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Here's my good pal and yours Ken Bruen on the set of the movie version of his novel "Blitz," alongside star Jason Statham and director Elliott Lester. Despite the often depraved nature of his work I have never thought of Ken as anything like sinister himself; somehow, though, the priest costume suggests one of Satan's helpers.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Boring Postcard

With apologies to the brilliant Martin Parr, who has published several collections of Boring Postcards that are worth checking out. This is a view of Wichita's famed Mid-Continent Airport circa 1970-75. I will try and be more diligent in posting than I have been lately.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Heartache Saloon, the Final Chapter

After undertaking this ambitious scene here I pretty much gave up on the whole enterprise. If I weren't a lazy bastard I might have made it into something worthwhile.

And sorry for the bait and switch--the bloodshed promised in episode 4 happened off-panel.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Plots with Guns

There's a new issue up at Plots with Guns featuring the amazing Frank Bill, the astounding Keith Rawson, and my own "Clyde Beatty's Prize Orang-Outang," an excerpt from my just-finished smutty novel Supply Sarge.

It's live now at

Monday, August 17, 2009


Here's the penultimate installment (as always, click to enlarge). Soon after this I realized that no one gave a shit about it and I dropped it. Either the style is changing in a natural way or I was putting less effort into it. Still, the final page will be lovely, just wait.

(incidentally, the missing bit in the text box at the bottom should read NEXT: BLOODSHED!)

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Apparently I overheard this fellow complaining about a co-worker while on tour a few years ago at a fancypants hotel in Minneapolis. Yee-haw.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Blog to End all Blogs

Sorry for the scarcity of posts of late, had a hard drive disaster last week and I'm having to schlep the MacBook to and fro between office and home. In the meantime, check out filmmaker Mark Stone's website:

Read it or weep.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Have you seen these garments?

From a collection of old police reports and ephemera from Ventura County, CA....hundreds more to come.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wicked Wichita

I have often been accused of exaggerating for shock effect the randy ambience of my hometown, but here are a couple of pieces of evidence in my favor.

First, here's a shot of the exterior of the old Rector's Bookstore in downtown Wichita, slated shortly for demolition. My old pal Krista D. was kind enough to go down and take this picture for me:

Rector's was the first bookstore I got to know really well. In the seventies it was also the first place I ever saw real porn, in the form of novels like these two gems, from Beeline Books:

(top image via Lynn Munroe Books)

It's hard for me to imagine how old hometown's city fathers allowed this kind of thing to be publicly displayed (this was in the days before dirty book stores opened in town) but I vividly remember bouts of furtive skulking amidst the racks toward the back of the store and devouring short bits of books like "Bondage Wife for Sale" before sweatily slipping them back onto the rack. Ah, adolescence.

The second delightful bit of kink, recently stumbled across, truly boggled my mind:

If anything like this was around when I still lived there I was sadly unaware of it. Wichita seems like a lot more fun than it was when I lived there.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


It's the return of Peter Rozovsky's Noir at the Bar!

Delmar Restaurant & Lounge

(314) 725-6565

6235 Delmar Blvd
Saint Louis, MO 63130

Doors open at 8 PM on Sunday August 2nd. Reading will be me, reading from my "Uncage Me" story, followed by Malachi Stone reading from his novel "St. Agnes's Eve," followed by Jedidiah Ayres reading one of his short stories, followed by the evening's headliner, Chicago's Theresa Schwegel, reading from her new novel "Last Known Address."

If you're not familiar with Schwegel's work you should be. She writes the best cop novels since Richard Price.

Be there or be square. I will repost this the day before.