Is there anything sadder than ending up as a Whatever-Happened-To?

Talk about has-been city.  I came across three different web pages where people were wondering what ever happened to that Ace Backwords fellow.  Sheesh.


January 11, 2013

Does anyone else remember Ace Backwords?  His strip Twisted Image was in just about every zine I saw in the late 80’s and early 90’s.  Apparently he’s now homeless and going blind, so you should support him by buying his book about homelessness.

Does anyone else remember Ace Backwords?  His strip Twisted Image was in just about every zine I saw in the late 80’s and early 90’s.  Apparently he’s now homeless and going blind, so you should support him by buying his book about homelessness.



Whatever happened to…Ace Backwords?

Ace Backwords ,
whose comic strip “Twisted Image” ran in alternative papers
during the 1990s has had a run of bad luck.

The San Francisco Chronicle tells the tale of his life of late:

For samples of his Twisted Image comic strip go to





Now here is a thread for the older underdogs to introduce some once very well known artists that haven’t made it into the younger generations. This can be artists who wrote in a foreign language and weren’t translated much or at all or deceased artists whose heirs take great care to protect their copyright but do not produce any reprints, which is the safest way to annihilate their heritage.

So I would like everybody to participate, but please follow these simple rules.

1. No web-comic artists. Only artist who had their golden age before the introduction of www.

2. Well known artist means that you should find at once people of your own agegroup that recognize the name of the artist without telling them, while the younger ones haven’t heard the name ever before.

3. No nine-day-wonder. The artist should have been active for a longer time (at least a decade).

4. It is not strictly limited to comic, it can be cartoons/caricatures as well, if there is at least some relation to comic.

5. No artists of mainstream-serials that are just defunct or replaced with others. The artist should have a distintive, personal style or his very own characters. No matter if simple or elaborated art. But you should recognize the work of the artist by the style, not familiar characters.

6. If you post, just make a short statement about the artists you introduce; saying who they are and why they should be here. Please no pictures, links and additional info in your first post. If anyone here asks you for examples, links, etc., go ahead. But I think everybody here who is interested in some artist will use google/wikipedia/etc. anyway. They just might not have come over the name yet.


Chez Addams. I think everybody will know the Addams family by the late movies (I did only watch the first two, and lost interest), but sadly only few people are aware that Chez created this characters around 1941/42, and made a lot of other very funny cartoons. Some of you might know them first by the black an white-1960ies television show (like me), that was certainly better then the later versions or the Hannah-Barbera cartoon version. I tried to get some of his books (he did quite some collections), but as far as I know they are not reprinted any more and the ones I found over internet were quite expensive originals. There are also very few of his drawings found in the internet; his heirs run a homepage under his name, but there are hardly any example of his works shown.

Gilbert Shelton
The creator of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers was largely derided as a purveyor stoner humor. In reality he was a skilled satirist who made pointed observations about the decline of the hippie subculture, sex, politics and the rise of punk subculture and American conservatism through the eyes of freaks. His sense of timing is absolutely amazing in both his writing and drawings.

Steven A. Gallacci

Largely unknown in modern mainstream circles, Gallacci could easily be considered to be one one of the forefathers of the furry fandom. Gallacci’s extraordinarily beautiful airbrushed drawings, had a major influence in many of the anthropomorphic art conventions that creatives in that genre employ today. His comic Albedo was largely responsible for launching Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo. This comic eventually overshadowed Albedo and became a mainstream staple in the 80’s and 90’s by way of its frequent crossovers with Eastman and Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Gallacci’s richly-complex hard science fiction writing also had a major though largely unsung influence on modern science fiction film and television.

Ace Backwords

Born in 1956, Backwords was one of the most prolific and influential gutter punk-scene underground comic creatives of the 80’s and 90’s. His comics were unflinching in their social observation and absolutely hysterical yet illustrated with disarming charm. His innovative guerrilla marketing practices had a huge impact on modern comics promotions. His works were critically acclaimed and widely published, but now largely forgotten. In 2010, Backwords ended up homeless, but support from the San Francisco community at large helped stabilize his situation.

3 thoughts on “Is there anything sadder than ending up as a Whatever-Happened-To?

  1. Holy Jesus, Ace!

    I am so pleased that you found that post on Webcomic Underdogs. I would like to say that I am absolutely thrilled to see this posted here, because for many people who lived through the shittiness of the 80’s-90’s, you really were something of a beacon of hope and an inspiration. I am glad that you are still around and still writing.

    Take care,

    1. I got a kick out of it, too. Vas. Its nice to know people are still remembering to forget about me. Ha ha. Or is it the other way around? Best.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s