Anne: David, after you had finished working for the Scribe, did you continue doing the same kind of work?
David: I moved to New York shortly after I stopped working for the Scribe, and began freelancing as an illustrator almost immediately, mostly for obscure trade magazines. There was far less editorial freedom, but the pay was better. Oddly, though I had fought hard to get my comics into the Scribe, I stopped drawing comics once I left Portland for New York, and didn’t start again for nearly a decade.
Anne: What motivated you to choose to work for the Scribe? What was your pay/did you get paid?
David: I was thrilled to see my work in print, but I mostly saw the illustration work as a way for me to get a foothold at the paper so I could get space for my comics. As for pay, one of my illustrations bears the signature “David Celsi $5.00”. I think covers paid $10. Money hardly mattered to me, since I was still living with my parents.
Anne: The people who worked at the Scribe knew they were changing Portland’s cultural DNA by ushering in independent media making. They could foresee the Portland we live in today. Yes? No?
David: If you take the rhetoric of those working at the Scribe at face value, ushering in independent media making was far too modest a goal. They were out to Smash The State and usher in The World Revolution- beyond that, possibly they saw themselves staffing a state-run information organ in the Post-Revolutionary Order. The present-day Portland, for all its weird trappings, would have struck them as insufferably bourgeois.
More here about David.
Breaking news: David will join host S. W. Conser on Words & Pictures Thursday Oct. 13 from 11:30 to noon (PDT) on KBOO Radio 90.7FM. KBOO’s real-time webstream is available online at http://kboo.fm/listen, or via the new KBOO mobile app for iPhone or Android devices. More info and links to recent Words & Pictures audio archives can be found at http://kboo.fm/WordsandPictures, and on Twitter: @WordsandPicture
UNDERGROUND USA is a public history/art education event made possible in part by a grant from the Kinsman Foundation and by a grant from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation. It is presented by Oregon Cartoon Institute in partnership with UO Comics & Cartooning Studies and PSU Comic Studies, with support from Oregon Historical Society and McMenamins.
Comic City USA, the first exhibit to look at Oregon print cartooning history, is at Oregon Historical Society, 1200 SW Park Avenue, through Jan. 31, 2017.
“People who read them when they first came out remember the initial impact — like getting whacked in the head with a two by four.” Patrick Rosenkranz, on underground comics