Robin Bougie is a proud pervert… he’s also a highly talented artist, writer and publisher. As well as being an expert in underground comics, trash films and porn.
In short – Robin is exactly the sort of well rounded individual that we love at The Aither.
Robin’s most well known project is ‘Cinema Sewer’ the iconic underground film magazine Robin self published for over 20 years, that also spawned multiple books.
Having recently put ‘Cinema Sewer’ on an indefinite hiatus with the publication of its 34th issue; Robin’s new magazine endeavour ‘Gutter Hunter’ sets out to explore the world of underground and independent comics – A scene Robin knows all too well. With Issue 1 recently released to much acclaim and a prompt sell out of its first edition.
(But don’t worry dweebs – Robin has already printed a 2nd edition of issue 1 and more issues are on their way!)
Wanting to get to know him better, we sent Robin some questions to answer over email.
Take a dive into Robin’s world below…
Name + D.O.B?
Robin Bougie, July 28th, 1973.
City, State and Country you currently call home?
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
City, State and Country you’re from?
I was born in what is now a northern ghost town, Uranium City, Saskatchewan, Canada.
When they closed the uranium mine everyone left, and large parts of the town were paved with filings from the mine, and are irradiated. It’s not a very hospitable place, although there are still a few people who never left.
Please describe some memories – such as art, comics, music, friendships, adventures, study, romance, politics, work, crime, religion… Anything really – from the stages of your life noted below:
* Your childhood:
I lived in 9 different Canadian towns for the first 9 years of my life.
My single mother was something of a hippy, and she worked as a music teacher. She was often having to go where the work was, so we were always loading the car up with our belongings and off to the next gig.
My mom is great and did her best and raised me right, but I was a real little street urchin, a ‘latch key’ kid. It was a very happy childhood but nomadic, since I never got to settle down and make friends for too long anywhere, until we got to Calgary, Alberta.
There my mom started working as a ESL (English as a second language) teacher to adults, but that job was also lost when she was blacklisted by the local schoolboard as retaliation for testifying against a Calgary police officer.
I remember being at a friends house and being amazed to see a court room drawing of my mom on the witness stand pop up on the nightly news on their TV.
The officer barged into her class, and began immediately savagely beating one of her students. Everyone started screaming. Many of them were fresh-off-the-boat immigrants from countries like Vietnam, Laos, and countries in South America where it wasn’t uncommon for corrupt police to mistreat or kill you. He didn’t understand what was going on, and didn’t comply fast enough, and the officer wouldn’t listen to my mom or anyone else.
The police were there after a complaint from the immigrant man’s girlfriend, who called them after the two of them had an agressive argument. She had no idea they would go savagely beat her boyfriend while trying to question him.
Anyway, my mom’s boss warned her that he couldn’t do anything for her if she testified against the police and gave the school a bad name, but she couldn’t live with herself if she betrayed her students like that, and we eventually had to pack up and move yet again.
Always on the road.
* Your teenage years:
My high school sweetheart, Rebecca Dart, became my wife who I am with to this day.
We spent our teenage years reading comics, drawing comics, and making art. We were very broke, and lived in my older brother’s place in Saskatoon Saskatchewan for very little rent, and for about a year when we were 19 we went on welfare while we learned how to get better at drawing.
We called it our “art grant”, because we couldn’t apply for one any other way because we didn’t do “the right kind of art”, and it worked great. We got fairly good pretty fast, treating that time like a serious day job as we did art gigs, and teaching comic art classes to little kids.
We saved about $1000 and opened a modest little shop in a local dying mall in the suburbs as a couple of 19 year olds. They were desperate for tenants, and we talked ourselves into the space for almost nothing. It was called “Mind’s Eye Artwear”, and it was a comic store as well as a custom t-shirt shop. People could come in and ask us to paint a photo or a character on a jacket or a shirt or a pair of jeans, and we’d do that.
Haha we were audacious, a couple of kids thinking we could do anything, including run a business and try to start a comic book company, but we did it all on our own somehow, since neither of our parents were even anywhere near that part of the continent.
We didn’t drive, nor could we afford to hire any staff, so it was 6 days a week, with an hour and a half commute every day on the bus.
We had that shop in the mall for about two years.
* Your 20s:
I never learned to drink alcohol until I was in my late ’20s, because we were always so broke and I just thought of that as something totally frivolous and needless to spend my money on when I could be putting it into our various art projects, self published comics, or other endeavours.
I didn’t get around to smoking pot until I was in my ’40s.
We also couldn’t afford art school or university, and had to manage with being self-taught, with many trips to the library, which I remember fondly.
* Your 30s:
My wife got a decent job working in animation, and paid many, many times over in taxes what we were given as part of our teenage ‘art grant’, so it was a very wise investment that the government unwittingly made in bettering our art skills.
I got an 8 volume book deal with legendary publisher FAB Press in the UK for my series of cult movie books/magazines, CINEMA SEWER, and we saved up enough money to buy a condo near downtown Vancouver, and we fully paid it off in 2009, when we were both 36.
After that, you live rent free and mortgage payment free, and debt free and it is fucking glor-i-ous.
All those years of never indulging in getting a car, or a credit card, or going on a holiday…. cutting our own hair… it was fucking worth it.
How did I get onto talking so much about money and sounding like a total goddamn cheapskate?
God, listen to me; I sound like the most un-fun dude ever.
Ah well, I’m just going with it, and not worrying about how I’m perceived too much.
* Your 40s:
I’m 48 now, and 5 years ago I finally got an art studio to work in, which is 8 blocks from our apartment.
I’d drawn in my bedroom my whole fucking life before that, on an art desk for two that was actually a door we turned on its side, and used the hinges as a height and angle adjuster. It’s been a wonderful change that really opened up new creative perspectives for me, working in a shared space with other comic artists around all the time.
James Lloyd who drew the Futurama comic, Pia Guerra who drew the series Y: The Last man, Johnny Christmas who did several graphic novels written by author Margaret Atwood…. a whole bunch of others that will probably be annoyed that I didn’t mention them.
Am I accepting an award here? I’d also like to thank the academy. Hahha anyway, it’s been so wonderful to be surrounded with amazing people who really make me strive to try to do better work.
Self esteem is not a birthright, it is a skill you learn as the result of doing something well.
Art, Writing, Film and Comics Questions
When and why did you first become interested in art, writing, comics, films and everything creative?
… and any pivotal creative moments / influences?
I’ve told this story once before in a zine I did, but it’s so key in my trajectory as a creator, that I think it’s worth telling again.
So my mom had a buddy who was a pot dealer, and in 1983 when I was 10, we would walk over there to this guy’s house.
This bro and his wife lived there, and on their coffee table were issues of Iron Horse and Cheri.
The adults would have a good ol’ time upstairs in the kitchen, smoking up and laughing and yapping and I would be tremendously bored, sitting there watching TV.
She ended up selling him a dumpy little cabin up north that we owned.
They didn’t have kids so there were no toys to play with.
At some point it was revealed that I loved reading comic books, so dude was like “Aha! I know just the thing!”. I was ushered downstairs into the basement where there were a few boxes of comics, and left on my own to rummage through them at my leisure.
A box of g-rated things I was somewhat familiar with, like Marvel’s Contest of Campions, DC’s Ghost Stories, and Barry Windsor Smith’s Conan comics, but there was also another box there of very unfamiliar sequential art which I would later would realize were underground comics from the 1970s.
Comics filled with sex, drugs, violence, and just plain weird shit.
This moment was my genesis as an artist.
I figured someone must have made a grave mistake. Like “Oh, they think I’m only looking at these comics for kids. They don’t realize they’ve let me look at this outlandish insanity, too!” They just wanted to smoke their doobies in peace, and I honestly don’t think they gave it another thought.
It was the 1980s, parents didn’t stress about that kinda shit. They let us run around unsupervised wherever we wanted to go until the street lights came on. It was a totally hands-off style of parenting that seems utterly alien today, but was totally commonplace.
I had certainly stumbled onto the forbidden shit, and I’d been led into the cave of filth by unwitting stoners.
Some of the comics were barely adult, like the Furry Freak Brothers, and some were just weird and hippy-drippy-trippy, but there were comics in there that were utterly fucking filthy like Robert Crumb‘s “Snatch” comics.
I mean, he had incest comics in there like “The Family that lays together stays together” where the son is fucking the mom and the daughter is fucking the dad, and the dog is fucking the baby!?
Like, it literally doesn’t get much more obscene in the history of comics up to that point, because the underground guys were going out of their way to smash the system and face the cultural taboos head on.
Robert Crumb, Rand Holmes, Greg Irons. Finding those creators led me to then discover Heavy Metal magazine within only a month or two after that day, and there I’d find out about Milo Manara and Liberatore.
I would get them used at this book store down the street from our house, and that mag was filled with all the euro sex comics, and they would inspire my aesthetics even more. Real classy and artsy, and drawn by insanely talented men and women, that made the comics I was used to (Richie Rich, Hot Stuff, Archie, Rupert the Bear, and Crystar the Crystal Warrior) suddenly look like the kid stuff they were.
But the comic in that box that made the biggest impact on me was the underground anthology Bizarre Sex. The covers of two issues of it in particular. Issue #4 had this giant dripping hairy twat – meticulously rendered – descending out of the sky and fucking skyscrapers as people scream and run for cover! I mean, can you imagine? I had no idea what vulvas even looked like, I was 10.
The other was Bizarre Sex #10 where William Stout has this grotesque labia monster with tentacles crawling out of a closet and bellowing “Earthman! Give me your SEEEED!”.
(The covers to Graphic Thrills Volumes 1 + 2 by Robin – Books which collect and provide information on American XXX film posters from the 1970s and 80s.)
If you had to explain your art, writing and other creative endeavours to some recently crash-landed aliens…
What would you tell them?
This is an admittedly rather strange but honest depiction of what humans are. Even thought they think of themselves as progressive and open-minded, they’ll likely pretend that they are not this.
But trust me, that’s only because the pillars of their modern society were built upon puritanism, and they’ve been taught for generations dating back to the Victorian era that base primal desires are not natural (as they are for other mammals) but unseemly, wrong or simply something you only do privately.
IMBD notes you were the executive producer of 2010 porn film The Cumming of Jizzus…
Care to share with us what that’s all about man?
I teamed up with three women, one who wrote the script, another who directed and co-produced, and another who was the camera woman.
I was co-producer and also did whatever else needed to be done, like sound guy, and prop and set design, and cleaning up piles of straw that had been jizzed and pissed on. I also had a non-sex role as a mourning father of a dead girl that Jizzus stuck his ‘res-erection’ into, but we had a rule on set that everyone must be topless at all times, to make the cast feel more comfortable with getting fucked in front of everyone.
We filmed it with like… paper backgrounds like you would see in a grade 4 school play. It takes place in biblical times, and it stars Jizzus Crust. He heals the sick with his cum, and turns water into whiz. You can see a trailer on youtube, but the dvd is out of print now.
I think we made 500 copies, and they’re out there somewhere.
I saved one for myself.
We’d always wanted to make a porn movie, so we did it.
It was more stressful and not quite as fun to try to distribute as comics and books are for me, so my plans for my next porn video, a post-apocalypse movie called ‘Hump Monkey Wasteland’ were scrapped, and my friend Maxine Frank and I made it as a 36 page porn comic instead.
You can read it in my comic, Sleazy Slice #6. That is pretty awesome, and still in print.
The rad thing about comics is that you can have a budget for your story that only affords you to buy a pen and some paper, and you can still transport the audience and create entire worlds. The only limit is your imagination and the amount of time you can put into it.
Movies…. you have to rely on so many other people to do them, and you can’t do anything impressive without money.
I didn’t like that. I found it really limiting and frustrating.
Who are some of your favourite artists, musicians, filmmakers, and writers?
…and what is it about their works that so inspire and move you?
Well, I just mentioned a bunch of them in that previous story about finding underground comics in the basement, but over and above comic creators, I really like the music of: Marvin Gaye, Roberta Flack, Connie Francis, The Beastie Boys, KRS-One, Nick Gilder, OMD, New Order/Joy Division, Radio Dept, M83, White Lies, Grimes, Haerts, The Raveonettes, ABBA, Kate Bush, Francoise Hardy, Alvvays, and Beck.
For directors I really like: PT Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, Hayao Miyazaki, Shunya Ito, Joe Sarno, Russ Meyer, Sergio Corbucci, Sergio Leone, Frank Tashlin, Kathryn Bigelow, Jack Hill, Brian De Palma, The Coen Bros, and Billy Wilder.
One can find out precisely why I adore their work in the pages of my magazine and book series, Cinema Sewer, which I just put the last 25 years of my life into.
If people wanted to contact you or buy some of your wares – How should they get in touch and where should they visit?
Well y’all can look me up on facebook or friend me on instagram to look at my art: instagram.com/robinbougieman/
…and buy direct from my online store, not from shitty ol’ culture-devouring amazon who certainly don’t need anymore of your money: cinemasewer.storenvy.com
Any upcoming projects you would like to mention?
There is an upcoming volume 8 of Cinema Sewer, which will be issued from FAB Press in both hardcover (with 60 extra pages of full color comics!) and a softcover version, and that will be the last Cinema Sewer release.
And more Gutter Hunter obviously – I’m so jazzed about it.
I hope it goes for 25 years the way Cinema Sewer did.
Odds and Ends
If you could live in any place, during any historical era – Where and when would that be?
…and why would you choose that time and place?
Now, and here.
I can’t think of a time with as much opportunity and with as much going for it. In so many ways, we are so privileged and lucky to live where and when we do in human history. I wish we didn’t take it so much for granted.
Sorry, that’s probably a boring answer.
Sorry for apologizing, but I’m Canadian and many of us do that a lot.
It’s not necessarily a low self confidence thing, it’s cultural. We use it like social lubricant to put the other person at ease. To say ‘I’m not a threat’.
Like a dog showing you its butthole.
What role did toys play in your childhood?
I remember so fondly that age where I didn’t feel stupid, conspicuous or self aware about running my little toy cars, robots, plastic animals, or action figures around. Making little voices for them — vocally imagining out loud whole storylines and worlds for them that were vaguely based on whatever way my blanket bunched up or what kind of dirt pile or sidewalk I had access to.
The way I would do that with my little friends, and we’d partake in that activity in front of each other, and it was the most normal thing in the world to us – to imagine together co-operatively.
That’s a first draft, a test run of world building, right there.
We need to keep doing a version of that no matter what age we are. Find a creative outlet that allows you to — that you feel excited by — and fucking do that.
I try to, every single day, but life always has so many distractions.
Who was your 1st crush?
…and why were you so infatuated with them?
That’s a good question.
My very first kindergarten crush was the little girl from Disney’s Escape from Witch Mountain, better known as the little girl that wanted an ice cream and got shot in the chest in the first scene of John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct Thirteen. Kim Richards.
She went on to be especially famous on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills series, but I didn’t really care about her after she grew boobs. I’d moved onto other crushes before then.
I’m not sure why she was my first little kid crush, to be honest. She was really cute, and she was my age and I loved that crunchy little smokers voice she had even when she was little. I think that was why.
Kids like stuff for the most random reasons, so I can’t really entirely say why I zeroed in on her instead of any one of the other little girls on tv in the mid to late ’70s.
The heart wants what it wants, I guess?
Does sex change everything?
I don’t think so, not anymore than sleep changes everything or breathing changes everything, or eating changes everything.
We think about sex as ‘the other’ in virtually every place where it manifests itself in our society, but I feel like that’s kind of manufactured thinking. We are sexual beings to some degree, even if we’re asexual.
It’s just who we are.
In a fight between the following erotic cartoon characters: the Bondage Fairies – Pfil and Pamila (created by Teruo Kakuta aka Kondom in 1990) Vs. Fritz the Cat (created by Robert Crumb in 1960) – Who would win?
…and why would they be victorious?
Haha oh man, I don’t even know!
Pfil and Pamila always seem to end up getting raped by bugs or various and random forest creatures, so I’m inclined to think the battle would rage on until somehow Fritz would manipulate them into rubbing his cat boner or something gross like that.
Fritz always seems to eventually get his comeuppance though, and I’m sure he’d eventually get stoned or drink himself into a stupor and the girls would get their ultimate revenge.
Please describe your last dream in detail…
I don’t remember it.
I think it had something to do with… no I can’t even remember a vague outline of it.
Of everything you have done, what would you most like to be remembered for?
I don’t think I have a specific thing, but just my art and writing in general, and I guess that I was someone who tried to be authentic and loving to other people and living things.
To be honest, mostly I just don’t want to be forgotten after I’m gone, because then it becomes like… I don’t know… almost like I never existed at all.
And that idea is fucking mortifying.
If you break down much of what I create to its seedling essence, you’ll find that as the tiny grain in the very center: Not wanting to be forgotten.
Wanting to leave some kind of mark that is positive, something that lives on past my own expiry date.