SICKY CLAWS CONQUERS THE WEIRD DICKS (1982)
Artwork: “Sicky Claws Conquers the Weird Dicks” (as featured in DR. WIRTHAM’S COMIX & STORIES #7/8, Clifford Neal) © 1982, Rick Grimes.
GRIMES: “To understand Sicky Claws, for the few that can find a copy, it would help to realize there was a world of other stories underway in my mind between Sicky and earlier published work. Characters distorted as the ‘victims’ of the WIRTHAM’S story because by then I felt maybe I should ‘run over them’ a little just because they meant alot to me. Big misstep, really.
The thing is, to this day, hardly anyone has seen any of these projects, as completed or otherwise. So, I’ve been stuck ever after with the detestable stupidity of having ‘everyone’ (that reads Sicky), see all the characters dead or almost so before ever knowing what they really are.
“I used to consider a sequel where Sicky wakes up at the beginning with Weird Dick & Friends gum cards, belonging to Nudolph, stuck on his head. The story before thus explained away as a fever dream.
The originals of ‘Sicky Claws Conquers’ are larger than I work now.
And I am stupefied today by its tremendous hodgepodge of detail.
Apart from the lunacy of its content, it is the first full-blown use of some of my childhood characters, starring as the attackers.
The signature was for ironic contrast – the way I wrote my name as a young kid.
“There are a few ‘in-jokes’, so far ‘in’ my friends probably didn’t even see them: Larry Loc is running a train engine in an early panel, with other links to him on the train. The ‘Guncy’ character, just as it says on the plywood’s graffiti was a [Rick] Veitch doodle. One that I kept and gave a name to for this story.
But, Peg Arms, especially featured on one page, was a character [Steve] Bissette created the first year of the school. (He was not unlike the freak spread Greg Irons had in Deviant Slice, which I had not seen at that time). He sent the comic page(s) to someone then, and no longer has it, he once told me. So, I brought him back myself! Note the little sign sticking in his ‘hip’ crediting Bissette.
The wall of TVs (a la Man Who Fell To Earth and the ‘Michael Ellis’ episode of Monty Python), ‘Hutton’ is watching have actual shows on them, as well as a couple of references to school pals and their characters. The curtains and linens are all ‘Slime People’ patterns, (instead of the leopard pattern in my actual home), in reference to, and in a parody of actor vanity. The repeated figure is of one of the humpbacked Slime People carrying his bucket of marinara, just as depicted in Robert Hutton’s sole (?) directorial effort, Invasion of the Slime People. Only Bissette would’ve gotten it, if anyone. We saw the film together on TV, in New Jersey; I still have the envelope I wrote notes on immediately afterwards.
“Tho’ not an ‘in joke’ exactly, as none of my school friends from ‘up-there’ have ever even been here, the setting of ‘Sicky Claws Conquers’ is my family house in Shreveport. Though every room and hallway is full of wacky distortions, the lay of the rooms is roughly accurate. And Cow Sow’s ‘map’ is also accurate to the story’s activities.
Of course, the title is an obvious, for the schlock film fan, steal of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, which I saw as a fairly old kid (and fortunately on TV, and not as the pathetic Saturday matinee ‘showpiece’ it wound up as).
Because of the aforesaid trammeling of still unestablished later characters, I’ve always avoided any thoughts of reprinting it. If it ever is, ideally it should be reprinted original size or larger, so people can see the blighter; in red covers with felt tacking like my old copy of ‘Night Before Xmas!'” — Rick Grimes (December 22, 2008).