Episode 248: Janelle Hessig


Founded in 1990, Tales of Blarg became one of the longest running and most influential zines out of the East Bay punk scene that gave the world Lookout Records. Over the years, the it published the work of such Northern California punk rock luminaries as Aaron Cometbus, Iggy Scam, Lawrence Livermore and Robert Eggplant. Janelle Hessig (née Blarg) hasn’t published an issue since 2006, but the writer/cartoonist is still strongly invested in the world of independent publishing. (And inspired a song by Bratmobile along the way.) For years, she worked for Last Gasp, and these days publishes other artists’ work through her own publishing house, when she’s not on the clock at San Francisco PBS affiliate, KQED. In 2014, she published The Cruising Diaries, a collection of writer Brontez Purnell, which Hessig also illustrated. Next year, Gimme Action will publish Rotten Philosophies, a personal collection of work from Hessig, who spent much of last year battling breast cancer. Hessig recommended a local San Francisco bar decorated with work inspired by outsider artist Henry Darger for this conversation, which touches on the importance of self-publishing, the downside of the internet and living day to day with a life threatening disease.

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