Comic Book Conspiracy
Feb 09, 2008 13:31 PST
Character Sketch (February 6, 2008)
By Thomas Matich
Feb 5, 2008, 09:13
T. Casey Brennan
Comic Book Conspiracy
Ann Arbor was host to a gathering at a house
I had never visited before. On the back porch,
with my red plastic cup freshly filled from
the keg, I sipped and exhaled winter breath.
That night I encountered T. Casey Brennan,
the man who, legend has it, shot JFK.
Brennan started writing comics in the late-'60s
with Warren Publishing's horror series Eerie.
As the '70s stormed ahead, Brennan penned tales
for Warren horror magazines Creepy and
Vampirella and DC Comics' House of Mystery
among countless others.
"I began reading them in kindergarten in
September of 1953," Brennan says. "I was
five-years-old, it was a one-room school
on a gravel road, no inside toilet or
running water and the teacher had to
shovel coal. There was a kid that had a
massive collection of old time comic books
and I began reading them and I became
very enamored by the whole concept."
With his stories, Brennan loved to create
his own world and he used language like a
machine gun, peppering his prose with vivid
Vampirella speech bubbles that took readers
on a creepy joy ride. By 1990, Brennan's
activism to remove cigarette smoking from
comics caused then Arkansas Governor,
Bill Clinton, to designate January as
"T. Casey Brennan Month."
Now, 59-year-old Brennan is homeless,
nearly nomadic, splitting time in cities
such as Ann Arbor, Pittsfield and Ypsilanti.
He enjoys going to parties and in my email
correspondences with him, he often asks if
I know of any bashes. He considers himself
a street-punk and feels that America has
reached a cultural revolution that is
genuine, unlike the hippies.
"I hated hippies then. I hate them now.
Woodstock should've been napalmed,"
Brennan says. "There's nothing on this
earth more sickening to me than a hippie."
In 2003, a car hit Brennan. He suffered
post-concussion syndrome, a bleeding liver
and a hernia. He had to learn how to talk
again and with the help of some punk rock
kids that took him in, he says he learned
a different concept of what constitutes
good and bad artistically.
In an email, Brennan sent me two Conjurella
stories, where he writes about his
involvement in the JFK assassination as
an unwilling teenager through hazy,
suspenseful recollections that involve
CIA MK-ULTRA mind control and Nazi experiments.
A few days later, I sit with Brennan at a
Starbucks in Ann Arbor and ask him if his JFK
stories are fact or fiction, to which Brennan
says he's willing to testify and take a
polygraph. But it seems certain people don't
want the truth exposed, as he's received
death threats and political persecution.
"If people want to deal with the JFK stuff
at all, they want to deal with it as art
that tests the limits of freedom of
expression," Brennan says. "Nobody wants
to hear that I am telling the truth.
But I take my fucking life -- my reputation
in my hands every time I'm forced to
admit that." | RDW
T. Casey Brennan's comics are available at
Vault of Midnight: 219 S. Main St., Ann Arbor.
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