Igloo Tornado: Fan Friction
Tom Neely, Gin Stevens, Scot Nobles and Levon Jihanian have balls as big as the muscles on the two singers they've become infamous for satirizing. Last spring, the foursome, an artist collective known as Igloo Tornado, created a stir in the local music scene by publishing Henry + Glenn Forever, a mini comic book that turned the 30-year friendship between Henry Rollins (ex–Black Flag frontman/current L.A. Weekly columnist) and Glenn Danzig (ex–Misfits leader) into a gay romance. Finally, the raging, man-pile, homoerotic subtext of hardcore punk had been doodle-ized.
Like many great ideas, this one was born in a bar — Bigfoot Lodge in Atwater Village. "At some point after a few beers, we were trying to figure out a project to do together," explains Neely, joined by the other three at his home nearby. They completed a Xeroxed zine in 2005 and tried for five years to sell it while making the convention rounds, before partnering with Portland-based publisher Cantankerous Titles.
One year Stevens and his girlfriend took a copy to Comic-Con and stood in line for an hour at the booth run by IFC, the cable network of Rollins' old talk show. "There were all these people in line with their 7-inch albums talking about how great it was gonna be to see Henry," Stevens recalls. "And here I have this lowly little Xeroxed zine about him being in domestic partnership with Glenn Danzig. Once he got three or four pages into it, he asked, 'Am I gay in this?' And I'm, like, 'Yeah.' Then the lady said, 'Smile,' and we took a picture with him."
The artists insist they're genuine fans of Black Flag and the Misfits. "This all came out of a place of love and respect, " Nobles says. Yet they were eager to poke fun at the singers' ubermacho image and exalted reputation as punk-rock gods by reimagining them as a bickering romantic couple: Henry and Glenn in bed; shopping at Target; getting ready to go out on Halloween. It was Nobles' idea to throw in Hall and Oates as the pair's devil-worshipping neighbors, inspired by the '80s rumor that the pop duo were satanists.
More recently, the artists created a YouTube Christmas video and organized an exhibit at La Luz de Jesus, inviting about a dozen other artists to reimagine the singers' relationship: Henry and Glenn as Madonna and child, cat fanciers, superheroes, contestants on The Newlywed Game.
The group feared retribution. "Please don't punch us in the face. We love you," the book pleaded. Jihanian opted to withdraw his name from the list of authors for fear of a backlash. Now he jokes that the book is "the one thing I'd love to get beat up over. That'll be, like, the highlight of my life."
Other than the run-in with Rollins, Igloo Tornado have yet to hear from either of their subjects. They would like to stop looking over their shoulders and move on to other projects, including more comic books, graphic novels and four-man art shows. But with enough interest, a sequel may be in store. We suggest adding a brood of kids adopted from foreign countries. It's all the, ahem, rage.
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