“A large part of Yost’s comic was drawn in a conventional style with traditional comic strip narratives, easily recognized as a “funny animal” comic…”
Yost’s influences were Krazy Kat by George Herriman, Pogo by Walt Kelly, comics in the New Yorker drawn by Charles Addams and Saul Steinberg, Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland, the animations of Chuck Jones, especially the Coyote and Road Runner cartoons, and The Far Side by Gary Larson (although Larson, one of Yost’s contemporaries, occupied a somewhat adversarial relationship to Yost). If you can imagine a pastiche of all these disparate sources, you can probably envision Yost’s drawings for the earliest Geranium Lake Properties comics, with a jackalope named Jack Loki as the main protagonist. Yost developed his own distinctive style (and his creative purpose irrevocably departed from his influences) at the beginning of the second year of GLP’s run, when the artist began experimenting with abstract comics and asemic writing for dream sequences, which mostly occurred when Jack Loki embarked on vision quests under the influence of hallucinogenic substances.
I was not perfectly honest in the description for the Bellingham Review when I said I pay no mind to that part of GLP rendered by Yost as conventional funny animal comics. I don’t feature that work here in this blog, but certainly I, and my panel of experts, Ha Kim Ngoc, Michael Veerduer, Benedict Thorarinsson, Algernon and Agatha Dawe-Saffery, have scrutinized every frame of Geranium Lake Properties, attempting to make our understanding of the GLP universe as complete as it can be. I have to say, I find the more traditional narrative of Yost’s epic rather ordinary, maybe even a little boring, but that’s really the fault of my own personal taste, and not a criticism of whatever literary merit it might deserve.
(For insight into Yost’s creative process, I prefer the more piquant information gleaned from Gralie Bohe’s novel, The Boy in the Yellow Leatherette Portmanteau, a roman à clef about Yost’s life after his mysterious disappearance.)
Christopher Patton is the person who invited me to submit my work, and he picked the four GLP comics out of the eight I sent him. He also did me the great favor of editing a much-too-long essay about GLP into the brief paragraph needed for the piece in the Bellingham Review. I am very grateful he let me take advantage of his editorial skills. He demonstrated an extraordinary eye for what is essential. (Please don’t miss viewing his own work featured in the Bellingham Review, an animated short film with a keen asemic perspective.)
Two of the four GLP comics at the Bellingham Review might be familiar to you: “The Conjoined Numina of Valfad Niam and yre-Ovna” from the Cephalopod Jamboree, and “Iron Earth, Stone Water, Separate Stars” from a post during this past winter.
“Paska Potkaisan Paska” is an illustration of an odd creature from Jackalopian culture who is not a native character of their myths. He is sometimes called “Potkia Paskaa”, and also called “The Shitkicker” in English. He is a personification of their view of an entity that is peculiar to human culture, an entity humans call “popular media” or “the media” or “the news”.
The offerings from Yost for Scarabaeus Day in both 1993 and 1995 have a tricky connection with the Enochian language, the language of angels revealed to John Dee and Edward Kelley in 16th century England. In each panel, you might be able to discern fragments of the letters Gal, Pa, Mals, Gon, Pal and Gon (with point) arranged in this pattern:
These represent the letters D, B, P, I, X and Y from the English alphabet. According to a theory from Benedict Thorarinsson, these letters spell out the names Galpa Malsgonpalgon and D. B. Pixy, which are code names for David Banner, the protagonist from the old television series (1978 – 1982) about The Hulk, a character from Marvel Comics. I don’t know if I am convinced of Thorarinsson’s theory, although I probably should be. Thorarinsson is an enthusiastic GLP fan with an earnest parasocial relationship with Wm. Yost. He has expressed some amazing insights into Yost’s character, plus he is a well-respected paleographer in his professional life. The character of David Banner, as depicted by the actor Bill Bixby, deeply influenced Yost as a teenager. Along with Hawkeye Pierce (played by Alan Alda in the series M*A*S*H, 1972 – 1983) and Kwai Chang Caine (a Shaolin monk played by David Carradine in the series Kung Fu, 1972 – 1975), David Banner helped to form Yost’s ideals of manhood, pacifism and the questing life.
The original post about Scarabaeus Day.