Punk Seth?

By | Tuesday, March 23, 2021 3 comments
This is the oldest picture I can find of the cartoonist Seth. It was taken by Rick McGinnis in 1992. (Original here.) Seth would've been about 30/31. He had already launched Palookaville although the collections It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken and Clyde Fans would still be a few years off. Although he would evolve as a creator over the ensuing decades, you can see by both his clothes and his art here that much of what he's established as his style is pretty firmly in place.

But I happened across this piece about him from last year in which he briefly recounts his pre-Seth days: “I’d quickly become a rather elaborately outfitted punk type, and I was looking for a new name.” The elaborately outiftted punk description caught me off-guard. It occurred to me that I've never seen a photo of Seth where he didn't look like he stepped out of the 1940s. Mentally, I couldn't really reconcile what a punk Seth would look like.

The two closest things I've found were a photo from the mid-to-late '90s where he's wearing a leather jacket instead of his now-more-customary trench coat -- although he still has his classic fedora and round glasses -- and McGinnis' verbal description of him "in the throes of his youthful Goth phase, complete with bleached hair and a cane topped with a silver skull."

My first thought is: I'm now having even more trouble picturing Seth taking fashion cues from Billy Idol. My second thought: if Seth adopted that punk look today in 2021, that would be roughly the same amount of time displacement in fashion as the 1940s asthetic was when he first adopted that in the 1980s. Picture someone from Gen Z adopting that punk sensibility and having it seen as a nostalgia for a Regan/Thatcher/Brezhnev era.

With that "now I feel old" thought out there, I'm curious -- does anyone have any pre-Seth, punk-era Gregory Gallant photos?
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Matt K said...

The book Seth's Dominion (which I believe was produced to accompany the DVD of the documentary) includes a photo with the bleached hair, studded bracelets, etc., dated "Circa 1983."

I can scan it or something later if you'd like.

If you've got a moment, that'd be excellent! Thanks!

BK said...

1987 https://twitter.com/bkmunn/status/1374689575709335557