Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Monkeybicycle Dirty Comedy Issue - almost banned, practically unprintable. Nice.

As some of you may know TBWCYL, Inc. spokesperson Ben Tanzer placed a deeply moving story about his children in the Monkeybicycle Dirty Comedy Issue. As you may also know, that issue has yet to be released, though it was supposed to be out months ago. Now, we have heard many rumors about what might be causing this delay, including what is being described as "a series of elective surgeries" by our lovely, albeit confused, editor, Eric Spitznagel, but no definitive statements from the leadership of Monkeybicycle itself. Well, until now that is. So, as opposed to relaying the issue's status to you second hand, we have decided to print the letter we just received from the recovering Mr. Spitznagel:

Hello, my disturbingly talented and oh-so-patient contributor.

Doesn't it seem like just yesterday that I was writing to you and announcing that the Monkeybicycle Dirty Comedy Issue, which includes your brilliant and spit-coffee-onto-my-computer-screen hilarious story, was getting published? Well, that was almost six months ago. What, you must reasonably be wondering, is the meaning of this?

Funny story. It turns out we've created something that, according to a few very reliable sources, is unprintable.

That's right, un-print-able.

In my last report, I told you that the issue was being published by Dzanc Books. That much remains true. However, when we sent the issue to a printer, it was promptly returned to us. Did our check bounce? Not at all. Did we deliver it in an improper format? Nope. The issue was rejected because the printer considered the content too obscene.

Take a moment and let that really sink in.

The printer, who is the publishing equivalent of a xerox machine, refused to accept money from us because they found our little collection of naughty humor to be morally objectionable. Apparently they believed that simply providing the ink to reproduce your words, and then putting it on paper and attaching everything with staples, would lead to their eternal damnation in a Judeo-Christian hell.

"Huh, that's weird," we thought. "Well, no cause for alarm. We'll just send it to another printer." Which we did. But again, it was rejected for content. So we tried another printer, and and another, and another. Every time, they said, "Thanks but no thanks." Actually, they weren't always so gracious. Remember that scene in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (the 1978 version) when Veronica Cartwright runs over to Donald Sutherland, thinking he hasn't been infected yet, and he points a yellow finger at her and lets out a ululating cry, alerting the other pod-people? That's kinda what it was like.

We eventually figured out what was happening. In addition to your fine stories, the dirty comedy issue also includes several cartoons. One of these cartoons was created by the inimitable Jeffrey Brown. I'm not going to get into specifics about exactly what transpires within the panels of Mr. Brown's offering, whose title is "Not Tonight", but I will say this: there's a LOT of menstrual blood. And perhaps unwisely, Monkeybicycle Ubermensch Steven Seighman and I decided to publish this cartoon in color. Okay, not full-color, but featuring at least one notable, biologically accurate color.

Long story short, the printer's employees inevitably noticed this cartoon - it's kinda hard to miss - which led them to investigate the rest of the book. And I'll admit, you don't really have to read the entire issue to stumble upon something that'll offend just about everyone. We've got stories about anal masturbation with cucumbers and Penthouse letters from Samuel Beckett and the bukkake cultural appropriation police and Sarah Silverman's poop being carried to heavan by the Baby Jesus. I'm honestly not surprised that these printers - which, I can only assume, are operated by god-fearing Americans who think Jim Belushi is a comedy genius - don't think very highly of us. I just didn't think they'd actually censor us.

Seriously, what exactly is going on? Is Monkeybicycle the funny version of Ulysses and it's the 1920s? I don't understand.

I do have some good news. We've finally found a printer with the cajones to work with us, and to the best of our knowledge, they're not connected to the mob. There is, however, a small catch. That Jeffrey Brown comic that caused us so much trouble in the past? It's being published in black-and-white. In other words, without a certain crimson color that might remind anybody of a lady's hoo-haw during an unmentionable time of the month.

I think we've learned something today, my friends. We've learned that the printing industry is afraid of menstruation.

If all goes as planned (i.e. the printer doesn't catch a whiff of menstrual blood in any of the other stories), you should have a copy of the long-awaited comedy issue in the next 2-3 weeks. Which of course, given our history of trying (and failing) to get this thing published, means early 2011.

See you in prison!


Eric Spitznagel

Your bewildered editor

Nice, right? Indeed. We will keep you posted.

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