“Nurture The Devil” : A Stroll Through The Dark Garden Of Jess Johnson’s Id


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Any comic that sticks in your brain for 23 years surely must have done something right, would you not agree?

Not that the images and ideas put forth in Jess (then Jeff) Johnson’s short-lived 1994 Fantagraphics series, Nurture The Devil, have always been a welcome guest in my brain. A heady and disorienting mix of body horror, psychosexual pathology, gender identity confusion, and barely-restrained confessional, this largely-(and sadly-) forgotten late entry into the “single-creator anthology” mini-boom that was already starting to see its ranks thinned considerably by the time these three issues expelled themselves from the darkest corners of their creator’s subconscious in 1994 leaves a stain as indelible as the deeply-saturated inks that every panel on their pages is awash — hell, drowning — in. I don’t know of other way to put it : some things you just can’t “un-see.”

Knowing what we know now about Johnson’s…

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