Believe it or not, regardless of if you know what an 'Outlaw' comic is or is not, chances are you have read one. Or you've seen a film or television adaptation of one. Movies such as 'The Crow', 'Sin City', 'Faust: Love Of The Damned' and 'Punisher: War Zone' are all movies based off an Outlaw Comic or off of a run of a title that's considered 'Outlaw'. If you've watched shows such as 'Preacher' or 'The Boys' then that means you have watched TV shows that are based off on 'Outlaw Comic'.
Ed & Jim spend the entire video trying to define what an Outlaw comic is and while they do hit upon certain patterns in 'Outlaw Comics' they still have trouble defining the term and what it means.
There are plenty of titles that could be considered 'Outlaw'. Johnny The Homicidal Maniac, Crossed, Scars, The Pro, Cinema Purgatorio, Miracle Man, Slaine and so many more could all be considered 'Outlaw Comics'. You could say, as Ed Piskor does in the video, that there is a Goth/Punk component to Outlaw Comics. Which isn't wrong, however, there are also components that exist in Hip-Hop, Country, Murderfolk and other music cultures that are present in Outlaw Comics. It's just that the Goth/Punk/Industrial components are more prevalent.
'Outlaw Comics' are considered to be a part of the independent & underground comics scene. I think it's only natural to think of 'Outlaw Comics' as being part of the independent scene as that is clearly where it was born but there are plenty of mainstream titles that fall into the category of 'Outlaw' as well.
To me, I think the reason why 'Outlaw Comics' are so hard to describe is that 'Outlaw' is something that transcends the medium. You can easily take select movies, TV shows, songs, books, poems and even stand up comedians and find that some of them are 'Outlaw' even though the art is of a different medium. But regardless of this, 'Outlaw' often leads to people being outraged.
Every era of history has had, regardless of their preffered art form, artists who have created something that has caused outrage and panic. Going as far back, if not further, as the 1700s when Marquis De Sade published several books and poems.
When a young man named Elvis Presley first picked up a guitar and shacked his hips on stage there was outrage. When The Sex Pistols first hit the scene there was outrage. The horror & exploitation movies that circulated the shores of England on VHS during the early to late eighties caused nationwide outrage and were deemed 'Video Nasties'. And of course, how can we forget the horror comics of the '50s that were attacked by Frederic Wertham.
In the UK we had the self-proclaimed moral arbitrator, Mary Whitehouse, who went on a personal crusade to have such things as Doctor Who, Alice Cooper, Gay News, The Goodies, Benny Hill, Channel Four News, A Clockwork Orange, Death Wish and much much more banned. Sometimes she wasn't successful in these feats. But other times she was.
And comic book controversy doesn't start and end with the 'Seduction O The Innocent' by Frederic Wertham. There was also the controversy over Hart D. Fisher & Boneyard Press when they published a comic book about the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Here's a few video's that will show you some of what Hart D. Fisher had to put up with:
But with all of that in mind, how many people would associate Elvis Presely with Horror Comics? Who would associate N.W.A. with Doctor Who, The Goodies with the movie 'SS Experiment Camp' or The Sex Pistols with Marquis De Sade?... Not many, if any at all... But they are all connected. They're connected by the fact that they all caused outrage and moral panic.
I think this is where we truly find the essence of 'Outlaw', not just in comics but in all forms of art and entertainment. That's because, in my honest opinion, Outlaw is an attitude combined with a personal philosophy that bleeds into the art that the artist is creating.
It's the understanding that art is meant to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comforted. Cause when art does that it causes us to think. It causes us to look at ourselves and to ask very important questions. It's a reminder that monsters don't get close to children...nice old men do.
In other words, it's about honesty, truth, integrity and understanding that we shouldn't hide our problems. We should fight them head-on.
And here's the interesting thing: The people who make outlaw art are always accused of corruption and lies. They're blamed for all the other issues that are present in the world while the people who cause these issues in the first place claim to be good, honest people. But it always turns out that the accusers, the ones who claim to be saints, are the ones who are hiding something. They have skeletons in their closets and those skeletons always escape. And the outlaw artists have nothing to hide in the first place. They wear their hearts on their sleeves and they battle their demons in public through their art while simultaneously calling out the people who accuse them of being monsters and revealing their true colours.
So, if you ask me what an 'Outlaw Comic' is, I would have to say: It's fearless art created by someone who has two middle fingers and isn't afraid to use them. It's art that holds a mirror up to the world so that everyone can see how the world truly is...It's just such a shame that some people are scared of their reflections.
Take care and stay awesome.