Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever: Completely Ridiculous Edition by Tom Neely
Microcosm Publishing (September 2017)
288 pages, $17.,64 hardcover; $11.99 paperback; $5.39 e-book
Reviewed by Anton Cancre
It seems like a silly idea at best. At worst, a bro-heavy homophobic mess masquerading as satire. You take the two loudest, virulently masculine icons of the early Hardcore movement, Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig, and make a series of comics about them in a relationship. Heck, the standard Odd Couple tripe pretty much takes care of itself. Who would have thought it would turn into something much more over the decade-plus long run collected here?
Sure, these are funny. There are plenty of gags about punk and Glenn getting mad about everything while Hank punches his way through most problems. Add in the variety of comic drawing styles (everything from Family Circus to Archie to Hellboy to a more modern webcomic look) and you have a pretty entertaining romp. Oh, and Darryl Hall and John Oates feature prominently as Satanists. The fake history given partway through and the alternate covers that range back to WWII-era Nazi punching add to the giggly happy fun times.
What makes it really stand out, and what helps to avoid the threat of homophobic jerk-wadery, is how the relationship between Hank and Glenn is portrayed. Rollins grounds Danzig; he is the one to pull our demonic ebony haired Wolverine to an even center. Meanwhile, Glenn’s grandiose dreams give Hank something to reach for. They both need and adore each other, and it is the most heartwarming thing I didn’t realize I needed in my life. I seriously wish my wife looked at me the way Glenn Looks at Henry in these pages—at least, in the comics done by Neely.
The downside of passing the project off to others is that some of them just don’t seem to quite get what made it work in the first place. When it falls into blatant “haha- these guys are stooped!” territory, it all kinda falls apart. Luckily, those portions are not the majority, but they do sour the experience. Overall, it’s a fun book with a surprising amount of emotional depth and earnest heart to it.