Friday, May 13, 2016

Arty Farty Friday ~ Jaxon

Jack Edward Jackson
(May 15, 1941 – June 8, 2006), better known by his pen name Jaxon, was an American cartoonist, illustrator, historian, and writer. He co-founded Rip Off Press; many consider him to be the first underground comix artist, due to his best-known comic book God Nose (sample HERE).

Snips from a tribute piece dated June 2006,
by Joe Gross, American Statesman staff writer:

Jackson was born May 15, 1941, in the south-central Texas ranching community of Pandora, the descendant of Texans who settled here during the Republic years after 1836.

To his friends and admirers, Jack "Jaxon" Jackson was an artist's artist, an historian's historian, a Texan's Texan. And to his artistic credit and financial detriment, Jackson was always a little too ahead of his time.

Jackson published the underground comic book "God Nose" in Austin in 1964, three years before alternative funny books sprang forth half a continent away in San Francisco. " 'God Nose' was printed in secret in the basement of the Texas State Capitol building on a state-owned printing press," said Moriaty. "He hawked it on the Drag. Little old ladies claimed he was a godless Communist and others claimed he was a fascist. It was a nice, middle-of-the-road comic book."
Five years later, he founded San Francisco's seminal Rip Off Press, which would become a staple of the burgeoning countercultural economy. His comics moved away from hippie-flavored shock value and into Texas history well before nonfiction cartoonists such as Joe Sacco galvanized the form.

"Jackson was first, but he was stuck in Austin," Fantagraphics co-founder Gary Groth said. "Robert Crumb was better able to tap directly into the zeitgeist in San Francisco." Jackson moved to San Francisco in '66 to join the "Texas Mafia," the transplanted Texans who were juicing up the San Francisco scene. He became the art director and informal accountant for the Family Dog, a music booking concern founded by fellow Texan Chet Helms, for whom Jackson created wild posters.

By the late '70s, Jackson had returned to Austin, where he produced comics about Texas history, including "Los Tejanos," "Lost Cause," "Comanche Moon" and "The Alamo."
"Jackson's histories were studies in misapprehension and out-of-control appetites," comics critic Tom Spurgeon wrote on his "Comics Reporter" Web site. "(They were) authoritative portraits of a region whose future was shaped from the buffeting winds of greed and desire.
Fantagraphics published "Los Tejanos" in 1981. "(Jackson) was doing this stuff long before it was commercially viable," said Groth. "Jack was a genuine historian, and there was an authenticity to the art, that gritty visual aspect. He could really capture that period, re-create it, dramatize it and make it relevant to readers. But it's historical, and how many Americans really want to know about history?"

"These are confrontational histories," lifelong friend and writer Mike Price said Wednesday. "He defied his readers not to wallow in glamorous mythology."

But Jackson's study of history wasn't confined to comics. An independent scholar who published a number of works on Texas history, Jackson's books included "Los Mesteños: Spanish Ranching in Texas, 1721-1821," "Almonte's Texas: Juan N. Almonte's 1834 Inspection, Secret Report & Role in the 1836 Campaign" and "Indian Agent: Peter Ellis Bean in Mexican Texas."

.....the years of laboring on the cutting edge — if not the more lucrative center — of art, comics and history took a toll on Jackson. Tina Jackson, his wife of 22 years, said Jackson was struggling with prostate cancer and diabetes at the time of his death, which is being investigated as a suicide. Jackson also is survived by his son Sam, 19.


Born 15 May 1941 in Pandora, Texas. Chart set for 12 noon as birth time unknown.

What should "show up" in Jaxon's natal chart? An indication of his avant garde attitudes (first underground comix artist); drawing skills; interest in history/tradition....

There's a potent line-up of planets in Taurus, the sign ruled by Venus, planet of the arts, it includes Sun (self) flanked by and conjunct Saturn (tradition), Uranus (avant garde) and Jupiter (publication). Additionally, Jupiter conjoins Mercury (communication) and Venus (art) in communicative Gemini - what better astro-portrait of Jaxon could we wish for? Cherry on top: Neptune (creativity, imagination) harmoniously trines Sun and other Taurus planets from Virgo.

Mars (energy, aggression) in Uranus-ruled Aquarius squares Taurus Sun, and some other Taurus planets - what's going on there? Possibly a reflection of the artist's inner irritability/anger with worldly events: "God Nose...there's vice in high places" and his way of publishing his feelings?

Natal Moon's position can't be established without a time of birth, it could have been in either Capricorn or Aquarius, an argument could be made for either; and they happen to be signs ruled by the two planets flanking natal Sun (Uranus and Saturn).


mike said...

Mercury in Gemini is his final dispositor, so I'm sure he was mental-plus. As you noted regarding his Moon in either late Capricorn or early Pisces, his Moon squares either his stellium in late Taurus or Mercury-Venus in early Gemini...he probably had inner, emotional tension of some sort.

"God Nose" doesn't appeal to me and I find it rather humorless, but others must have enjoyed it...LOL. I've read a number of articles about the benefit of graphic illustration, particularly in education, and a number of text books are utilizing the graphic approach. Also, there are a number of graphic novels being released now. Perhaps a reflection of the current interest in super heroes from the paperback comic era of my youth.

The line, "[he]...was a Texan's Texan" is wide-open for interpretation...nowadays would mean one is Republican, conservative, and of family values. Could be a derogatory term depending on which side of the divide one is on. I assume he was a liberal, but reading his Wiki entry doesn't provide too many clues, other than his enjoyment of satire.

The definition of "underground comics" is essentially without censorship, abetting a work-around of the Comics Code Authority of 1954, a part of the errant McCarthy era of conservative, American values:
"The United States underground comics scene emerged in the 1960s, focusing on subjects dear to the counterculture: recreational drug use, politics, rock music and free love. These titles were termed "comix" in order to differentiate them from mainstream publications. The "X" also emphasized the X-rated contents of the publications. Many of the common aspects of the underground comix scene were in response to the strong restrictions forced upon mainstream publications by the Comics Code Authority, which refused publications featuring depictions of violence, sexuality, drug use and socially relevant content, all of which appeared in greater levels in underground comix."

Twilight said...

mike ~ I think you'd meant to type "either late Capricorn or early Aquarius" (not Pisces)?
Yes, he probably released those tensions via content of his satirical artwork - good way of doing it!

I bet that line about being "a Texan's Texan" says more about the person who said/wrote it than the person it was describing. Jaxon spent a lot of his time in California among the arty and counterculture crowd, I doubt he'd have been able to retain much right-wing Texan nonsense there! ;-)

Jaxon's historical graphic novel artwork reminds me, a bit, of Robert Crumb's work. Whereas Jaxon chose tp illustrate part of Texas' history, Crumb graphic-novelled the Book of Genisis.

mike (again) said...

Yes, meant to say Aquarius, not Pisces. I was seeing if you were fully passed the test...LOL. Crazy day here (been peculiar for the past couple of months, actually).

mike (again) said...

Primary election comment from Ralph Nader:
"When asked what positive contributions Clinton has made to the 2016 campaign, Nader called her a 'corporatist, militarist Democrat' who would have been defeated by Sanders if every state held an open primary.

'She's going to win by dictatorship. Twenty-five percent of superdelegates are cronies, mostly. They weren't elected. They were there in order to stop somebody like Bernie Sanders, who would win by the vote,' he says.

To date, Clinton has captured 3 million more total votes than Sanders, but Nader argues the results would be different if independents were allowed to participate in each state.

Nonetheless, he says Sanders' candidacy was meaningful because it simultaneously pressured and exposed Clinton.

'I think he made very few mistakes. He raised a lot of money, so he was viable, from small contributions. He didn't back down on his record of 35 years. He wasn't given enough debates ... he couldn't do anything about closed primaries. And he couldn't do anything about the superdelegates. But he almost won and he would've won,' Nader says. 'He would've defeated Trump easily, much more easily than [Clinton] would've defeated him. He doesn't produce gaffes. He's very consistent and he's scandal-free. What politician 35 years in office is scandal-free?'"

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Crazy weather-wise? Same here, up and own, storm then calm, cool then hot. Hot today.

Thanks for the link and info re Nader's words. It's nice to find someone giving Bernie his due - few have done so (probably all frightened of losing face with "Her Majesty").