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solid writing
skilled art
historical bonus 3
total score 8
Bogeyman Flyer _ Bogeyman 1 _ Bogeyman 2 _ Bogeyman 3
Bogeyman Flyer
Bogeyman #1
Bogeyman #2
Bogeyman #3

1968-1970 / San Francisco Comic Book / Company & Sons
Bogeyman is an early underground series spawned from the unique mind of Rory Hayes, enabled by the founder of San Francisco Comic Book Company (and passionate fan of EC Comics), Gary Arlington. On the surface, the series is as Jay Kennedy described, "Horror comix in an EC Comics tradition." But as any issue of Bogeyman will attest, Rory's illustrations are quite crude compared to the EC masters, and most of his stories are juvenile nightmares that barely frighten. The first issue is all Hayes, while the next two issues brought in several guest artists who added extra spook to the series, but Bogeyman always remained Rory Hayes' title (he even edited the second issue).

Hayes has a fascinating history dating from his childhood, which is chronicled by his older brother Geoffrey in the 2008 book compilation of Rory's best work, Where Demented Wented (also summarized in Geoffrey's magazine article about Rory). Bogeyman #1 was Rory Hayes first professional comic book, which he produced at the age of 18 after befriending Gary Arlington while hanging around Arlington's shop in San Francisco. After Bogeyman launched, Hayes became a frequent presence in the underground scene, contributing to Bijou Funnies, Fits, Radical America Komiks, San Francisco Comic Book, Insect Fear and Slow Death.

Hayes most notorious comic work was his one-man smut manifesto, Cunt Comics. But Hayes violent porn comics were produced more as a favor to other people than as an area of obsession for Hayes, at least at the beginning. After he contributed some smut comics to Snatch Comics #2 in late 1968, Hayes did go through a phase where he drew nothing but naked bodies, exploding blood and other spurting body fluids. But this phase may also have been influenced by the acid and speed Hayes was getting into (and would never get out of), which steered his artwork into darker and more bizarre themes. As Geoffrey put it, "Drugs seemed to liberate Rory, to let him unleash his demons full force."

But the first issue of Bogeyman came before the drugs and before Hayes began working on Cunt Comics. Bogeyman #1 demonstrates that if Hayes had an area of obsession in the field of comics, it was horror comics, a theme that dominated his early professional work. Geoffrey states that "Bogeyman #1 was a continuation of what Rory had been doing as a teenager, albeit rather more gruesome. It was less an underground comic than a retro take on old horror comics, but it got him noticed.... Only with Bogeyman did Rory even start thinking of himself as an artist, of drawing as more than just a hobby."

As the three issues of Bogeyman amply illustrate, Hayes may not have been a representational draftsman, but his expertise with page and panel composition is well developed (bear in mind that his brother Geoffrey produced at least one and possibly more unattributed stories that were published in the second and third issues). Rory Hayes also has no compunction for happy endings or surviving protagonists, as his teddy bear character often meets a fatal destiny. At times, the teddy bear appears to embody Hayes as a child who has recurring nightmares, which always end just as he is about to die.

I'm betting that Geoffrey Hayes would agree that underground comics changed Rory more than Rory changed underground comics. He was a unique artist and few, if any, attempted to imitate his style back in the early '70s. As Geoffrey put it, "Rory's work is and always will be his own. Bypassing his conscious mind, it arrives directly from some deep place onto the page, unvarnished and unapologetic." Due in part to that inimitable quality and straightforward storytelling, Hayes' influence on comic art would grow over the years and many alternative-comic creators (including Edwin "Savage Pencil" Pouncey, Gary Panter and Mark Beyer) drew inspiration from him.

Readers may or may not embrace Rory Hayes and Bogeyman, but that is part of the joy of being one of his fans. Not everyone gets it. And we kind of like it that way.