Thank God It’s Munden’s
Lots of people think their neighborhood bar is a place where anything can happen. Well, at Munden’s Bar, anything can happen – and does, frequently. It’s located in Cynosure, the city that serves as the intersection for every dimension, real or unreal, magical, demonic, scientific, holy or a mixture of all. Munden’s is the kind of place where the regulars can include gladiators, gunslingers, wizards, aliens, dancing girls, and a watchlizard named Bob.
Munden’s was created as part of the award-winning GrimJack series by John Ostrander and developed in tandem with legendary director Del Close. Nearly every story was self contained. The main writers, early on, were Ostrander and the legendary Close who had been director and teacher at Chicago’s Second City Improv group for twenty years and worked with his students who graduated to Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show. Del was fascinated by the potential of comics and, together with Ostrander, devised some strange and wonderful stories.
Each weekly story (starting Fridays on ComicMix.com) will be drawn by a different artist, and will run the gauntlet from unsettling drama to broad satire to hilarious slapstick.
Now we’re bringing it back. Del is no longer available, having died a few years back (he willed his skull to the Goodman Theater and, supposedly, there it rests although there has been some questioning of late as to whether or not it is actually Del’s skull). Our first story, however, is a tribute to Del and will be drawn by legendary Chicago underground artist, Skip Williamson. It involves the skull of the great sorcerer, the Amazing Del, that is sitting on the Bar as part of its latest farewell tour. The visit, however, is interrupted by the Reality Police who find the Bar in violation of several laws of reality (as defined by the Reality Police) and try to arrest the skull as well for not actually being the skull of the Amazing Del. Mayhem. . . and comedy. . .ensues.
So pull up a stool while we ask John Ostrander about what’s going on at Munden’s.
JO: We’re doing new Munden’s Bar stories – eight page short stories set in the bar that GrimJack calls home. Stories originally showed up in the back of the book and we had a great compilation of guest writers and artists, including the immortal Del Close who, at the time, was the director and teacher at Chicago’s famed Second City and had been guru to a great many comic minds in the latter part of the last century. The new set of stories will be just as wild, strange, and funny. I seem to recall that a newbie named Martha Thomases is doing one. I’m really looking forward to hers.
CMIX: What are the drink specials?
JO: Many are unprounceable and some are obscene. Gordon, Munden’s inestimable host, is not just a bartender; he’s a mixologist. Tell him what you have a taste for and what proof you want to go up to and he can improvise a new drink on the spot.
CMIX: Tell me about the people you’re working with on upcoming stories. Is there anyone missing from the list you crave?
JO: The ones you most want are the ones that are gone like Del Close and Kim Yale. Jay Lynch has had to bow out because of a fire at his house. That said, we got folks like Skip Williamson, underground great, who has done a fabulous MB guest-starring his own Snappy Sammy Smoot. We’ve done a crossover with William Messner-Loebs and his Wolverine McAlister character that works so well it’s almost criminal. Long time fan faves and Munden’s habitués like HIllary Barta, Joe Staton, Mike Baron and Ed Dunfey – noted sots all! – will be returning. And my own sweetie, Mary Mitchell, is working up something with me as well. I can promise strangeness. As to who I’d LIKE to see come? Anybody with a sense of humor, a feeling for the outrageous, and knows a saloon.
CMIX: I’ve always had kind of a crush on Gordon, even though he’s fictitious and everything. Would he?
JO: Gordon is actually based on a real friend of mine, Gordon Munden. He let me borrow his name and sense of cool. His fictional alter-ego thinks you’re cool, too, and offers to buy you a drink anytime you come to the bar. He’s good like that.
The all-new, all-free Munden’s Bar comics to ComicMix Friday, October 5th.