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What If Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig Were Roommates... or More?
An interview with Henry & Glenn Forever co-creator Tom Neely, plus pages from the new comic.
by Alex Heigl
Henry & Glenn Forever is a comic based on the idea that Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig are... ahem, roommates. Hall & Oates are also involved; they're Henry and Glenn's Satanist neighbors. Got that? H&GF is precisely as absurd as we're making it seem, and that's why it's so incredible. We caught up with co-creator Tom Neely to talk about his project and the life it's taken on. That life includes the new series, Henry & Glenn Forever and Ever, graced with the amazing cover you see above this intro. Click past the interview for excerpts from the comic.
So... uh, what's the deal here? What's the story behind Henry and Glenn Forever?
Well, the idea came out of me and my three friends, my artist collective here in L.A., Igloo Tornado, and basically, one night over too many beers, we decided that there should be a book like Tom of Finland's, but with Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig. And right there, we started making, you know, napkin comics about like, what if they were roommates, or… more than that? And we just went from there, and it's since turned into this beast that's become all these other things now.
There's that great quote on the back of the original pressing from Henry Rollins ("Has Glenn seen this? Trust me, he would not be impressed.") Has Danzig seen it yet? Have you heard anything about his reaction?
Actually, as luck would have it, a friend of mine — J. Bennett — works for Decibel magazine. Glenn Danzig's latest album, Deth Red Sabaoth, came out about a month after Henry and Glenn was released, and so when J was going to go interview Glenn about it, we signed and gift-wrapped a copy to give to him. And J asked him if he knew anything about it, and he hadn't, and he tried to give him the copy, and Glenn refused. He then went on this long tirade, which Jay then transcribed for me. I turned it into a comic that's been published online, but it's also the cover of the new Henry and Glenn Forever and Ever #1. It's word-for-word his actual reaction, and it's pretty priceless.
You picked two of the most undeniably macho punk rock icons — both of which whom happen to be buff, good-looking dudes — did you cycle through a lot of hardcore icons to find the two most quintessentially macho ones for this series?
No, it just spontaneously popped into our heads. There was no consideration, it just literally fell out of the beer bottle and into our laps. It's like chocolate and peanut butter — you just can't deny it. Someone suggested like, H.R. and Johnny Rotten, I think, and you know, that just sounds like you're trying too hard.
It is funny — you mention it to people, and they're like, "Oh, that's genius! It's such a commentary on homoeroticism in hardcore punk, with the two butchest punk rockers of all time!"
Yeah, it's not that. Just lightning striking, really. They both have such big personalities and outsized reputations that everyone's familiar with, so there's a lot of fodder to work with from reality and their histories.
How do Hall & Oates figure into it?
The original book that I did with Igloo Tornado, Scott Noble had been doing a series where it's the same drawing of Henry and Glenn, and they're just saying different things, and Glenn always disagrees with Henry. And he was working on that, and then one day he just drew Hall & Oates instead — so much of this was just done at a bar over many beers. I remember that there was a rumor in the '80s that Hall & Oates might be secret Satanists, so I was just like, "Yes, they'll be their Satanist neighbors," and we wrote it in.
How has the comic evolved beyond its one-note origins?
Well, for the new miniseries, Henry & Glenn Forever and Ever, I'm opening it up to other writers and cartoonists I like and basically allowing them to do whatever they want. Like in the first issue, Benjamin Marra did this weird adventure story where they fight a Satanic cult underneath a castle in a forest. And then Ed Luce did a pretty great story where they're in couples therapy together. Then we've got Mark Rudolph doing a story where he's taking them on a psychedelic vision quest. So really just running in whatever direction we want and being as ridiculous as possible, staying true to the original spirit of the thing.
Next: Exclusive pages from Henry and Glenn Forever & Ever!