Booked got schooled by J David Osborne about the Bizarro genre,and we’re passing on the learning to you! David dropped heavy knowledge about Bizarro from its inception to today, and suggested a ton of resources for new Bizarro readers. Check out the episode to get the straight dope, then check out some of the many resources listed below to take it to the next level!
What is Bizarro and how did it start?
From the episode and some barebones net research (so please forgive/correct any glaring mistakes): Bizarro got it’s start way back with the beginning of Eraserhead Press over a decade ago, but the name came a little later – in the era of the Mondo Bizarro Forum in the mid-aughts, which was frequented by big Bizarro names Carlton Mellick III, Jeremy Robert Johnson and Cameron Pierce.
Early Bizarro-identifying presses include the aforementioned Eraserhead Press, as well as the now shuttered Afterbirth Books, and Raw Dog Screaming. Today, there are also Lazy Fascist Press, Jeremy Robert Johnson’s Swallowdown Press, and Deadite Press.
JDO’s Recommended Bizarro Books
Angeldust Apocalypse by Jeremy Robert Johnson
Meth-heads, man-made monsters, and murderous Neo-Nazis. Blissed out club kids dying at the speed of sound. The un-dead and the very soon-to-be-dead. They’re all here, trying to claw their way free.
From the radioactive streets of a war-scarred future, where the nuclear bombs have become self-aware, to the fallow fields of Nebraska where the kids are mainlining lightning bugs, this is a world both alien and intensely human. This is a place where self-discovery involves scalpels and horse tranquilizers; where the doctors are more doped-up than the patients; where obsessive-compulsive acid-freaks have unlocked the gateway to God and can’t close the door.
This is not a safe place. You can turn back now, or you can head straight into the heart of… the ANGEL DUST APOCALYPSE
Zanesville by Kris Saknussemm
WHO IS ELIJAH CLEARFATHER?
Futuristic bioweapon or good old-fashioned messiah? Reincarnated ex-porn star or mutant information-age revolutionary? The man who awakens in New York City’s Central Park with no memory of his identity and the enigmatic message FATHER FORGIVE THEM F carved into the flesh of his back may be all of these things and more.
Taken in (and then expelled) by a group of freedom fighters battling the soul-deadening Vitessa Cultporation, Clearfather is a stranger in an even stranger land. Following tantalizing clues that point to the gnomic Stinky Wiggler, and pursued by murderous Vitessa agents, Clearfather embarks on a surreal odyssey of self-discovery across an America that resembles a vast amusement park designed by some unholy trinity of Walt Disney, Hunter S. Thompson, and Hieronymus Bosch.
Bizarro Starter Kits
There’s a new genre rising from the underground. Its name: BIZARRO. For years, readers have been asking for a category of fiction dedicated to the weird, crazy, cult side of storytelling that has become a staple in the film industry (with directors such as David Lynch, Takashi Miike, Tim Burton, and Lloyd Kaufman) but has been largely ignored in the literary world, until now.
Some Big Names in Bizarro
Carlton Mellick III
Cameron Pierce Who won the Wonderland Award for Short Story Collection 2010
Jeremy Robert Johnson
D Harlan Wilson
Bizarro Books for Starters
Apeshit by Carlton Mellick III
Shatnerquake by Jeff Burk
We Live Inside You by Jeremy Robert Johnson – buy it at his website to get a signed copy!
Any books by Cody Goodfellow
Web Resources for Bizarro
Bizarro Central – Check out a ton of resources for Bizarro, and join the Bizarro Brigade (Thanks to Booked superfan Frank Edler for bringing it to the attention of Booked)
Go find the authors on Facebook!
Movies & TV ShowTs That Could Be Considered Bizarro
David Lynch movies
Takashi Miike films such as Visitor Q, Gozu and Iichi the Killer
The Last Circus
Cartoon Network shows like Adventure Time and Super Jail
Next week Booked reports from the other side. We got our hands on the new Jeremy Robert Johnson collection We Live Inside You and we’re going to let you know what we think of it! We’re excited to dive into the genre, so check back for our thoughts next week!
Midnight Bicycle Mystery by Deerhoof
Hang Ten Hamburg by Melon Boat
Don’t forget to buy J David Osborne’s award-winning novel By The Time We Leave Here We’ll Be Friends!!
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