Acid Heroes

September 20, 2017

An early comic strip from 1986

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 8:45 pm

In 1986 I finally quit my day job, and spent the next 9 years hacking away at the ole drawing board doing a semi-daily comic strip. This is one of my early efforts. The first appearance of the characters that would later morph into Billy Guzzo and Betty Botty.



Twisted Image: starring Billy Guzzo and Betty Botty

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 8:41 pm


One of the weakness of my comic strip was that I was never able to come up with strong cartoon characters.  In part because I was more interesting in exploring concepts and ideas than characters. But also because I got bored drawing the same characters over and over. But the bottom line was  that I couldn’t come up with characters that consistently inspired punch lines.

Billy Guzzo and Betty Botty were the only two characters that appeared semi-consistently throughout the 9-year run that I did a daily comic strip.  Billy Guzzo was sort of a 19-year-old Charlie Brown “loser” type of character, forever trapped in that realm between adoloscence and adulthood. And Betty Botty was his love interest, loosely based on my friend Mary Mayhem.

Near the end of my run as a cartoonist, I actually devoted three months to working on a long Billy and Betty story, to see if I could develop the characters. But it never really developed.  At any rate, this is a short excerpt from that series.



















Some of my old comic strips that somebody posted on the internet

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 8:30 pm


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September 19, 2017

25-cent books

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 8:42 pm
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Needless to say, the only constant is change.


This photo reminded me of when I used to run my 25 cent used book vending table on Telegraph Avenue. I had a donation cup on my table, to spare me the wear-and-tear of having to deal face-to-face with all my customers (I’m on the shy side). And the cup would constantly get filled up with coins.

I was usually busy working away at my work station about 10 yards away from the table, repairing the damaged books.  But I always kept a sharp eye out for that donation cup (in case anybody got any bright ideas about walking off with it). And every 15 minutes or so I’d get up and take all the dough out of the cup.  It was always filled with bills and lots of change. So that was fun. It was like magic. All this money, constantly materializing our of nowhere. I called it “selling books by the pound.”

Anyways, by the end up of the day I’d usually end up with about 100 dollars in change. So week after week, month after month, all that change would really start to pile up.  I’d literally end up with garbage bags full of coins.

So once a month I’d have to separate all the quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. And put them in money rolls so I could exchange them at the bank for bills.

I stopped doing my 25 cent used book vending table in 2009. But 8 years later I still have a big box full of quarters, 500 dollars worth of quarters, stashed in my storage locker.  It’s like a load of bricks.   I just never got around to rolling them up and taking them to the bank.  But one thing that annoys me when I think about that.  That 500 bucks is probably worth considerably less now, 8 years later, than what it was worth in 2009.  Because of inflation.  Which hardly seems fair.  I worked hard for that money.  So why should it be worth less now just because I’m thrifty and saved it?

Ha ha. I really am kind of nutty.


September 18, 2017

The day after Hate Man died

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 7:42 pm



The day after Hate Man died, I was waiting on the line at the Dollar Store buying some crap. The guy on line in front of me was talking to this other guy:

“Hey, did you hear? The Hate Man died on Sunday. Yeah. The famous person from Berkeley. The Hate Man. I just heard about it 5 minutes ago on CBS News. Hate Man lived in People’s Park for years and years. He used to be a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. . . ”

I thought I was gonna start crying right there in the fucking store.


September 16, 2017

The Twisted Image Benefit Concert

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 8:19 pm


This issue of Twisted Image from 1982 (I was 26 years old at the time) was one of the first things I did that generated a bit of attention within “the scene” (as we used to call it back then).

After the issue came out this guy contacted me about putting together a Twisted Image benefit concert at a local rock club. The guy was all fired up about the idea of becoming a big-time local rock promoter and thought this would be a good vehicle to launch his career as impresario. So he rented out this large lesbian club on Telegraph Ave (Ollie’s) for a Saturday night. And I used my contacts within the “punk rock community (so-called) to get The Lewd, who were pretty popular back then, to headline the gig.

But then a couple days before the show, disaster struck. I get a phone call from the lead singer of The Lewd telling me the band had just broken up (welcome to Spinal Tap). And to add to the disaster, Iggy Pop was playing in Berkeley the same night as our show. So that would pretty much siphon off most of the audience that would’ve went to our show.

So the night of the show — the big, big Twisted Image Benefit Concert — the would-be rock promoter, undaunted, has signed up 7 bands that nobody has ever heard of to play the gig. So there’s 20 or 30 musicians milling around in the club, and maybe 3 paying customers. A bad performer-to-audience ratio.

But we’re still cautiously optimistic at that point. But would get less and less so as the evening wore on.

Then about an hour into the show, FINALLY some good news. This guy comes rushing up to me and says:

“Hey are you Ace Backwords?”

“Yes I am,” I admitted.

“Well I just want to tell you I LOVED the cover of your latest issue of Twisted Image! Loved it so much. I work in a print shop and I blew it up to poster size and printed up a bunch of them. So I wanted to give you 3 of the posters as a token of my esteem!”

“Well thank you much,” I said. “We’ll hang one of them up on a stage as a backdrop.”

And I had a sudden surge of optimism about the prospects for our big show.

“Cool,” he said. “OK I gotta go. I just wanted to drop these off before I went to the Iggy Pop show.”

And I realized even HE — our big fan — wasn’t going to stick around for our show. So at that point I knew we were doomed.

So the show grinded onwards grimly for several more hours. After the bands finished their songs there would be a “smattering of applause.” If that. But it was mostly very quiet in that club. The main sound I remember was the anguished cries of the would-be rock promoter, exclaiming with hand on forehead: “I’M GOING TO LOSE HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS ON THIS SHOW!!”

But what the hell, the poster was very nice. And it hung on the wall of my studio apartment in Berkeley for 10 years.



September 15, 2017

Wiley Coyote vs. Roadrunner: The Final Chapter

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 7:29 pm


September 13, 2017

Educational smut from the bad old days

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 8:55 pm

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One of my old Twisted Image ads

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 8:54 pm

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Monk Rock

Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 8:53 pm

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