A year ago, a self-published comic book appeared in small stacks in divey San Diego restaurants, cafés and art-supply stores. The title was Tard Core and its pages were filled with general disgustingness: aliens that pooped babies and a weightlifter whose butt hole explodes.
'I got that idea from Rotten.com,' says Lee Lavy, the nice yet somewhat demented creator of Tard Core. Lavy doesn't look like the kind of guy who finds that sort of thing funny-he's wearing a white, button-up shirt with black suspenders and a black tie looped into a Windsor knot. His head is shaven and he sports a nicely groomed handlebar moustache.
'That's exactly what happened,' Lavy adds, twisting back and forth in his swivel chair at the downtown gallery where he works. 'The weightlifter was going for a clean and he pushed too hard. He was wearing the striped socks and everything.'
Lavy recently gave CityBeat a preview of Tard Core No. 2. And, while the craftsmanship has most certainly improved since the first one, the subject matter remains the same. Lavy pulls out one of his newest pages, detailed panels filled with black-eyed aliens-or Marlonians, as he calls them-and explains what's going on.
'He's trying really, really hard to get his shit touched,' Lavy says. 'It's really gross. I kinda get embarrassed sometimes when I show people this stuff.'
But he doesn't let sheepishness get in the way. Using hours of downtime at his day job, Lavy's been frantically drawing up more scatology and using the gallery's printer for mass reproductions. He plans to get Tard Core No. 2 on the streets just in time for Comic-Con.