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Flippy’s Story

aka Flipper, the Flipster, Little Flip Flips, Flip-a-Roni, etc., etc.

Well, it’s been six months since we lost Kitty, and we are still financially and emotionally reeling from that, and I was supposed to write about Flippy while she was still alive. At this moment she is, but in few hours she will not be. I guess I was just too busy and didn’t think it was urgent. In April, she was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, but was doing fine, purring right along through it all. But two days ago, something happened seemingly unrelated to her kidney disease – we don’t know what – something perhaps with the CNS – but she isn’t getting better and no one seems to think she will.

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Interview With Avi Spivak


This interview was previously published in the SOLD OUT December 2012 issue of Maximum Rocknroll. For a .pdf, click above.

Avi is in the Bay Area this week with his new work Sadistic As Hell. You can (and should) see these at Down At Lulu’s.


You might not know Avi Spivak, but youd probably recognize his artwork from record covers, flyers, and magazines. Or you might know him as the mastermind behind the excellent comic zine Human Being Lawnmower or the illustrator of an amazing collection of stories from Norton Records known as Kicksville Confidential. Or perhaps he was just the nerd that sat next to you in elementary school who was always getting yelled at for his incessant doodling. If you like rock and roll and/or comics, then I humbly suggest you familiarize yourself with his work. And if you dont like rock and roll, you should go die.

MRR: Before Human Being Lawnmower, your comics were published in other magazines. What made you decide to do your own zine? Why did you choose a print outlet over a digital one?

Avi Spivak: Screw was my first ever “professional” gig. I met the editors one night at CBGB’s and showed them my sketchbook and they invited me to the office. I figured I might be able to convince them to run some dirty gag strips, so in the next week or so I banged out about eight or ten samples to bring over. Turns out they weren’t very good and that this kind of humor wasn’t really a good fit for me. So when I showed them they suggested I take a crack at doing a cover instead, which was great since it paid much better and it was a real thrill to be able to go to the sleaziest newsstands in New York City and see my art amongst all the vile smut. . They were a real relic from a much seedier era in the City’s history. I did two covers for them and then they went out of business later in the year.  It’s a shame really, and every now and then I’ll be drawing and come up with some sick idea that only would’ve worked in Screw. I’ve also contributed comics to John Holmstrom’s relaunched Punk magazine, Sweden’s now defunct Denimzine, and currently for Ugly Things, and every once in a while I’ll land a job doing illustrations for some “straight” magazines but not as much as I’d like. It’s really a terrible time to try to work in publishing.

I started Human Being Lawnmower mainly as an excuse to get my own work out there, and also at a time when I was a bit more enthusiastic about writing about the music that I was into, so it seemed like a natural thing to combine the two. Fanzines were an important source for finding out about cool stuff when I was a kid, I didn’t know about the internet yet, and it seemed like there wasn’t too much stuff like that around anymore—fan based stuff where you could write and say whatever you wanted and about anything you wanted. To me, having something in print to hold and touch will always be infinitely superior to the latest in digital technology. The internet is an incredible resource and it’s certainly made everything much more connected, but it’s really two different things. Maybe it has something to do with the collector aspect of it, but also as an artist there is nothing better than seeing your work reproduced the way it’s supposed to be.


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Field Work, Installment 1

This begins with a perhaps unnecessary, rather long, somewhat boring intro that explains how and why I went out on these various escapades. Feel free to skip ahead to the escapades themselves.

Getting a PhD was not a childhood dream. In fact, I don’t think I even knew what one was until I was maybe 20 or so. Early on, however, I was interested in biology, particularly animals and evolution. We always had animals growing up, and I grew up near a national park, so these things probably foddered my interest. Additionally, my grandfather was an avid birder, and he and my grandmother would spend their winters birding in Texas. I remember him showing me pictures in bird books and telling me about the various birds they’d encountered on their trips. My sister, who used to be older than me but now turns 25 every year, wanted to be a paleontologist from birth and perhaps even conception, so I was introduced to dinosaurs and fossils early on.

This is me at age 2, mesmerized by birds (and probably by my grandfather’s swank jammies). Notice the “Woodsies” on the couch. Little chipmunk-like critters that lived in a little plush log. Pretty much my favorite toy at that time.

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