Monday, 6 June 2016

Very Vicky

"Very Vicky" Fan Art (1995)
by Dave Sim
John Mitchell and Jana Christy are the husband and wife team who self-published eight issues of "Very Vicky" in the 1990s about the fictional character Vicky Ocean, daughter of Danny Ocean aka Frank Sinatra.

(from 'A Cerebus Preview' in Cerebus #187, October 1994)

November 22, 1960.

No, that's not a typo. Tuesday, November 22, 1960, Norman Mailer, Hipster, rising star in the literary firmament, co-founder of The Village Voice, author of The White Negro, was arraigned in a New York City district court for the stabbing of his first wife Adele (after exploring the possibilities of running for mayor at a party that... got out of hand: a mingling of the Best and the Brightest and New York street people, Mailer's own idiosyncratic vision of a Big Apple New Frontier).

The first act of violence.

Adele lived (shit, doesn't anybody know this story anymore?), but already that time period, that sensibility, was mortally wounded. Four years later, The Beatles would permanently lay it to rest.

Vicky's sixteen, see? Dressed to kill, style, panache. Very Vicky isn't about a revival of that hipster age, it's mostly about the surviving sensibility. Vicky dominates the proceedings, gravitating to Chris, Greggo -- people who use phrases like 'never give schmendrick an even break', terms of endearment like 'pally' and 'broad' (as in 'she's a great broad'). 'Babe' has been appropriated. Misappropriated, if you ask me. The sensibility spits on the wound and runs a few laps. Gimme a Manhattan and make it a double, Charlie. God and the Devil are in Very Vicky. They aren't as much a part of the 'scene' as they like to think they are, so nothing much has changed on that score. They don't 'get it', but neither does anyone else. Not 'getting it' is a given, dig? More to the point, the central thing I'm trying to tell you (can I freshen that up for you? Naw, I didn't think so) is that they aren't 'with it'. Dig? There's nothing inside them that's 'with it' or even remembers that there's anything to be 'with'. If you asked Vicky if she 'gets it', she'd probably give you any icy little smile and shake her head. Like most people, you'd take that as a no. Which it isn't. No one would ask if she was 'with it'. If you can't tell by looking, pal, you're in the wrong place. You ever see an answer in your life, just see an answer, that makes the question meaningless?

I met John Mitchell (writer) and Jana Christy (artist) for the first time in Bethesda. Maybe it wasn't the first time. Maybe it should have been. Maybe it shouldn't. I had a sip from Jana's Manhattan in a hotel bar. It all fits, you know? She had to send me the recipe 'cause all the bars that have them file cards, the typing has faded so bad... well, you get the idea.

Their publishing company is called 'Meet Danny Ocean'.



Tony Dunlop said...

Best comic of the 90s. No contest.

Travis Pelkie said...

I never saw this, other than the Cerebus Preview. Maybe our pal Drew Ford can look into collecting this for It's Alive?

eric fennessey said...

And at least one issue of: Very Vicky: Calling All Hillbillies

Dave Sim said...

When I was at the Norman Rockwell Museum for the exhibit in 2007, the visit spanned Remembrance Day (Veteran's Day in the U.S.) and I ended up having to go all the way to North Adams, MA for a Veteran's Day service -- hiring a car and a driver. And then mentioned that on the Blog & Mail and heard from John Mitchell that he and Jana lived just a couple of blocks from the North Adams War Memorial.

The piece was done as a benefit when Jana got pregnant with twin boys -- even though it was clear that the "writing was on the wall" for them as self-publishers. I hate to think how old the boys are now. Must be in their teens.

Yes, maybe Drew Ford could do the collected VERY VICKY!

Travis Pelkie said...

Well, if she was pregnant in '95, it seems that the boys must be about 20-21. So maybe old enough to legally buy their own cocktails.

But yeah, I'd love a collection, it sounded like a cool series.

Tony again said...

For those interested, I just did a quick search on Ebay; many original issues are available there, most for under $2.00.

Dave Sim said...

Well, you can't have MY VERY VICKY's, that's for sure! :)

John Seven said...

What a great surprise to blunder into this today! And hello Dave, it's been a super long time! I do live just a couple blocks from that war memorial - though my friend Howard Cruse was at that event and was supposed to mention that he was my neighbor and say hi, and he totally forgot to do that.

Seeing this brings back awesome memories. It was featured in our ill-fated one shot The Very Vicky Junior Hepcat Funbook. It had other pin-ups by various people, including Brian Bendis and Steve Bissette and Mike Zulli and Evan Dorkin.

I have no clue how Jana feels about a VV collection, but I'm happy to hear from anyone about it if they wanted to do it. We still have all the original art, because i am a pack rat.

Anyhow, I have been a journalist in North Adams for years - and have had a new name for years too - and Jana is a children's book illustrator. One of her regular gigs is for the Disney Never Girls books. She and I do books together though - our website is if anyone would like to check that work out - of interest to Dave, I think, is that we recently did a picture book bio of Sinatra for Abrams. Tina Sinatra even gave us a blurb for the cover.

Thanks for posting this!!!

John Seven said...

Oh! And, yeah, they're 21. Lightweights compared to their parents, but that is probably a good thing.