I hadn’t heard of Jesse Moynihan until last year when a copy of Forming landed in It’s Nice That HQ. A publication concerning monsters, cavemen, cursing, gore and sexy-times, it was kind of a big deal, nay dream come true. Jesse is not just a comic book author, but also a story-boarder for Adventure Time which may just be the coolest job title ever (if you’re aware of Adventure Time that is) so without further ado, here’s one of the most hilarious and amazing bookshelf features I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading…
“I was going to include Space is the Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra by John Zwed, but I don’t really know if I could call it one of my favourite books. It’s more like a story that came at a time in my life when I really needed it. I was 22 and feeling defeated by Philadelphia. Anyway I don’t own the book anymore. I sent it to my ex-best friend Nate after three years of being pissed at him for dumb reasons. So here we go…”
Manly P Hall: The Secret Teachings of All Ages
This book was recommended to me by Conspiracy Matt. I got to know Matt because I saw him every day at the coffee shop, wearing golden boots, reading Aleister Crowley. Eventually I worked up the courage to talk to him about his book selections. We rapped about reptilians, The Hollow Earth , rock music, and mystery cults. Matt is an intense dude and sometimes he would start shouting at me about some really touchy conspiracy shit that I won’t repeat here. Regardless, I’ll always be grateful to Matt for turning me on to Manly P Hall. I’ve read TSTOAA through and through. I use it constantly to help me springboard deep into my inner world. It’s a mammoth piece of work. My memory is trash, so I’m always re-reading passages; digging up new ways of observing symbols from the past, that are hidden in the present.
Manly P Hall: The Secret Teachings of All Ages: An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy
Joe Daly: Dungeon Quest Book 3
Since I’m a cartoonist I thought I’d include the best comic of 2012 which is Dungeon Quest Book 3 . The other two Dungeon Quest books are also great. What starts off as a low-key, stoner comedy about some weirdos in the suburbs, develops into a dense and passionate epic swashbuckler. It pulses with a hilarious energy and narrative clarity that is sorely lacking in most comics I read. Joe Daly really kicks his ambitions into high gear in Book 3. After I finished it I was like, “Holy shit man. I’m scared of this guy.” That was my reaction because I’m super-competitive.
Joe Daly: Dungeon Quest: Book Three
Amos Tutuola: The Palm Wine Drinkard
This book was recommended to me by my ex-girlfriend Margaret. It’s about a guy who can’t stop drinking barrels upon barrels of palm wine. Then the dude who was helping him make the wine dies, so he goes looking for the ghost of the guy. It’s a relentlessly linear story that doesn’t adhere to any conventional structure that I’d encountered before. The language used in the book is totally off-the-wall. His descriptions and word-play floors me on every page – each sequence is so funny and violent and shockingly weird/fantastic. Tutuola helped me realize that I could write stories like I was a remote viewer. This is how I’ve tried to approach storytelling ever since.
A few years ago my friend John and I tried to make a computer game based on the characters in Tutuola’s books. I flaked out on the project within a few months, but someone should do it! I would play that game.
Amos Tutuola: The Palm Wine Drinkard
Comte de Lautréamont: Maldoror
When people ask me what my favorite book of all time is, I tell them it’s Maldoror. It’s been so long since I’ve read it, I can’t remember anything about it really! I remember there’s a giant snail, and a guy being whipped to death or something. There must be a reason why I still tell people that Maldoror is my favourite book. At the time of reading it, I hadn’t been excited by fiction in years and years. I don’t think I’ve been that excited by a book since, so until I feel that again, I’ll keep saying Maldoror is the best.
I think there are some similarities between Maldoror and The Palm Wine Drinkard . They both feel like a one-way journey, or an initiation into new, wilder zones. They both take super-reality for granted. The imagery speaks to the part of me that wants to punch mountains and have something mystical happen as a result.
Maldoror : Comte de Lautréamont
Joseph Campbell: The Hero With A Thousand Faces
There was this booky girl at my apartment one time and she was looking through my shelves. I started gushing about Joseph Campbell and then I got self-conscious about it. I asked her if she thought liking The Hero With A Thousand Faces was corny. I don’t know why I think it’s corny. Something in me tells me it is. I guess it makes me feel like I’m a lame screenwriter in LA who thinks I’ve unlocked the key to “story.”
Well anyway she told me it was fine. So I’m not embarrassed that this book has imprinted itself on me forever. Listen you guys. If everyone read this book, there would be no war. Joseph Campbell was an angel. I’m glad I never got to meet him, so I can keep that idea in my head.
Joseph Campbell: The Hero with A Thousand Faces