Tagged punx

Snake Pit Gets Old and other tales: An Interview with Ben White

ben snakepitI’ve read my way through most of the Microcosm catalog, but there are some books that just never jumped out at me—most of them being either graphic novels or books about punk music, two genres that I’ve yet to get a handle on. But when I spent a week at home sick, trying to rest and relax, I decided to delve into the books on our list that I had deemed to be the least suited for my interests—Ben White’s Snake Pit series of comics about his life in punk. I planned to just flip through his most recent book, Snake Pit Gets Old (which comes out on May 12) and then move on to something else. But you know how this story ends: I devoured the entire book in one sitting, and then proceeded to read through the other five books in the series. Then I got sad that there wasn’t more—and worried that there wouldn’t be any. So I sent Ben a request for an interview for our blog, and to find out his plans.

How would you describe your books to a total stranger you met at a bus stop? 
Every day, I draw a comic strip about what I did that day. It’s not supposed to be funny or profound or anything other than a basic document of the day. Every three years or so, I compile those comics into a book, which usually ends up being called funny or profound by other people that are not me. I have been doing this every day for the past 14 and a half years (it’ll be an even 15 years in July of 2015)

I read your new book last week and now it’s kind of hard to write to you because I feel like I know more about you than I do about some of my closest friends, but we’ve never met. Does it ever get weird to have your everyday life just out there in the world that way? Have you made good friends because of it? Do random people come up to you and offer you life advice on the street? 

I never feel that weird about people knowing about my life, because honestly, they only know the things about me that I choose to share. There’s lots of stuff that happens to me that’s not in the books. I have indeed made a ton of friends that started off as fans of the comics and just emailed me or came up to me at a show or something and introduced themselves. A few of these meetings have developed into full-on friendships with some very cool people. Thankfully, the three-year books offer a nice time buffer, so if somebody does try to offer me advice about something, I can say “That happened three years ago. It’s been resolved by now. But thanks for caring.” Smilie face.

pensive snake pitYour drawing style has evolved a lot since you started in 2001, and of course your life has changed, but even more than those things, the tone of the way you talk about yourself and your life is much different. How have your motivations for making the comic changed, and also do you get something different out of it now than you used to?

I learned a lot from those early days. I learned what I should and should not include in the comics, often by trial and error. I’ve made some mistakes, I have hurt some people that I didn’t mean to hurt, just because I didn’t truly consider the ramifications of airing my laundry so publicly. It’s like when everyone just started using social media and they were unable to see the reach of what they would type until it was too late, then over time, they learned how to censor themselves but still share important details. I just learned it on a slower, grander scale. 

What have you been up to in 2 1/2 years since the new book ended? Are you still drawing a daily comic? What projects—musical, publishing, and otherwise—are coming up?

Still drawing the comics, I don’t plan to ever quit. The next book will (hopefully) be out some time in 2016. I’m hoping Microcosm will want to publish it (hint hint!)

Finally—could you settle a dispute we are having at Microcosm HQ: Is it Snake Pit or Snakepit? Also, how did you come by that name in the first place?

The comic is called Snake Pit. My name is Snakepit, because “Ben Snake Pit” sounds stupid. The Snake Pit was the name of the punkhouse in Richmond VA where I lived when I first started drawing the comics. The original idea was for it to be a kinda sitcom starring all of the people that lived in the house, but we got evicted a month or so after I started it so that plan went out the window.

Check out Ben’s Snake Pit books, we’ve got ’em all! This is the latest in a series of interviews with Microcosm authors. The last interview was with Anna Brones, author of The Culinary Cyclist.

Record Store Day!!

What’s almost as good as records falling from the sky? Record Store Day!!!

As one of our favorite days of the year spins closer and closer, we’ve decided to spotlight our music books in celebration! We’re offering a special deal for record stores:

We’ve got some new releases and some old staples:

New Releases

Crate digger cover

Crate Digger: An Obsession With Punk Records 

Crate Digger: The record-obsessed Bob Suren (Sound Idea Distribution + Burrito Records) tells stories of a life framed by punk records in this popular new release,








Punk USA: The Rise and Fall of Lookout Records

Punk USA: Known best as the label that put Green Day on the map, Lookout Records has been the breeding ground for hundreds of fascinating records that inspired a generation. This book, an instant hit, documents the label’s rise and fall from 1987-2006.







Classic collections

Henry & Glenn Forever

The greatest love story ever told depicts punk and metalheads Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig in their domestic life together. Together with their neighbors Hall & Oates they have myriad adventures and deal with each other’s issues as a pair!
First, there was the book that started it all:   

Then came four issues of the 32-page comic, each filled with three short stories. Each issue also comes in two different covers, a regular and a variant.
#1  #1, #2, #3, and #4

If you get a combination of 40 or more total issues (including any of the other books on this page!), we can ship ‘em with a free display box.



henry and glenn forever and ever
Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever

Glenn couldn’t understand how complicated it was getting so we released a trade paperback that collects all four issues plus 100 additional new pages.







punk in nyc

Punk in NYC’s Lower East Side 1981-1991 

Scene Histories: Framed around Reagan Youth, the second generation of punk in New York’s Lower East Side that thrived while being ignored by the media and ended like all good things—with a riot in Tompkins Square.






bay area rock scene history

The Rock & Roll of San Francisco’s East Bay, 1950-1980

Much is written about rock n roll in San Francisco, but not as much is documented about what was happening on the other side of the bay for the first thirty years. Cory M. Linstrum uncovers it all thirty years later.







Snake Pit: Ben Snakepit (Ghost Knife, J Church, and The Sword) has documented every single day of his life in three comic book panels since 2001, instantly becoming an underground classic.

Snakepit Gets Old.
Last year we reissued his first book for its 10 year anniversary: The Snakepit Book
Snakepit: My Life in a Jugular Vein covers his hardest rocking years and includes a CD of punk tracks that he listens to in the comics

We’ve got also copies of his collections from 2007 and 2008.

snakepit books






things are meaning less burn collector 14  burn collector 15

Burn Collector: You might remember Al Burian as punk’s wandering storyteller of humor and dark humor from when he played in Challenger or Milemarker or, if you’re old u’re old, Hellbender. Clearly we can’t shake the guy.

In 2003 we published his Black Flag- quoting graphic novel, Things Are Meaning Less. We’ve published two issues of his Burn Collector zine, first #14 then #15.



More underground punk classics  

Beyond The Music: How Punks are Saving the World with DIY Ethics, Skills, & Values

Featuring interviews with leading figures of the DIY punk underground, this book outlines how punks are saving the world, despite contradictions, challenges, and having to overcome cultural and social norms, as well as punk’s spotty history.








maps to the other side

Maps To The Other Side: The Adventures of a Bipolar Cartographer

Sascha Scatter (Choking Victim) spent his life adventuring all over the globe, playing in bands and starting seed libraries before founding The Icarus Project, the first member-run mental health advocacy organization. This is his story.







God, Forgive These Bastards

Rob Morton of Plan-it X Records’ The Taxpayers wrote this biography of a college baseball pitcher turned homeless street sage in a redemption tale of pain and forgiveness.

Bobby Joe Ebola: Longtime Bay Area band with a cult following, Bobby Joe Ebola has teamed up with Horrible Comics’ Jason Chandler to produce a parody of Little Golden Books (complete with a CD), Meal Deal with the Devil 
We’ve also released their comprehensive lyric books / guide on how to march to the beat of your own (or no) drum, the Bobby Joe Ebola Songbook




Scam: The First Four Issues 

Scam: Trainhopping, generator punk shows, stealing electricity from lamp posts, squatting, selling plasma, tagging trains, wheatpasting, and dumpstering as seen through the lens of a young punk. “Totally, totally essential for anyone with anything approaching a punk rock bone in their body.” —Boing Boing






Making stuff and doing things

Making Stuff and Doing Things: A Collection of DIY Guides to Just About Everything

“DIY guides to doing just about everything under the sun—from playing guitar to making toothpaste” —Last Hours Mag“If there is a book you get this year this is it…the Time-Life series for punks all in one volume, for one low-low price!” —Hanging Like a Hex  








How and why

How and Why: A Do-it-yourself Guide 

What do you do when you wake up from the dream? Get some blueprints for projects towards a better world! An all- grown-up do-it-yourself handbook with easy-to-use info on bicycles, home and garage, gardening, homeschooling your children, musical instruments, and more.






Punk Documentaries

If it ain't cheap it ain't punk

If It Ain’t Cheap, It Ain’t Punk: D. un I. t Y.

Plan-it X Records has been a vision of hope and inspiration since 1994 and this is the label’s story of ups and downs as told through the 2006 festival in Bloomington, IN








Between resistance and community

Between Resistance & Community: The Long Island Do-it-yourself Punk Scene 

“Punk’s not dead—it’s just cleaned up its act and living in mom’s basement. These well-spoken kids with creative haircuts describe their own basement-band scene as “building community-based movements.” A timely snapshot of contemporary punk’s new sincerity.” —Village Voice






Xray riots dvd

X Ray Visions: A Look Inside Portland’s Legendary X-Ray Cafe

“Accepting of almost all cultural expression or character type that wasn’t mean-spirited, the X-Ray championed a kind of inspired amateurism and a participatory environment that’s unlikely to be equaled for audacity or fun. In the words of one former regular, ‘the X-Ray was the cat’s potato.’ And so is this film.” —The Oregonian





Punk Classics from PM Press

Dead kennedys
Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, The Early Years

Using dozens of first-hand interviews, photos, and original artwork to offer a new perspective on a group who would become mired in controversy almost from the get-go. It applauds the band’s key role in transforming punk rhetoric, both polemical and musical, into something genuinely threatening—and enormously funny. The author offers context in terms of both the global and local trajectory of punk and, while not flinching from the wildly differing takes individual band members have on the evolution of the band, attempts to be celebratory—if not uncritical.




Stealing All Transmissions: A Secret History of The Clash 

It’s the story of The Clash’s love affair with America that began  began in 1977, when select rock journalists and deejays aided the band’s quest to depose the rock of indolence that dominated American airwaves. This history situates The Clash amid the cultural skirmishes of the 1970s and culminates with their September 1979 performance at the Palladium in New York City. This concert was broadcast live on WNEW, and it concluded with Paul Simonon treating his Fender bass like a woodcutter’s ax.






The Story of Crass 

Crass was the anarcho-punk face of a revolutionary movement founded by radical thinkers and artists Penny Rimbaud, Gee Vaucher and Steve Ignorant. When punk ruled the waves, Crass waived the rules and took it further, putting out their own records, films and magazines and setting up a series of situationist pranks that were dutifully covered by the world’s press. 



Barred For Life: How Black Flag’s Iconic Logo Became Punk Rock’s Secret Handshake

A photo documentary cataloging the legacy of Punk Rock pioneers Black Flag, through stories, interviews, and photographs of diehard fans who wear their iconic logo, The Bars, conspicuously tattooed upon their skin. An extensive tour of North America and Western Europe documents dedicated fans bearing Bars-on-skin and other Black Flag iconography. Nearly four hundred “Barred” fans lined up, smiled/frowned for the camera, and issued their stories for the permanent record.


The Primal Screamer

From Rudimentary Peni frontman, this is a gothic horror novel about severe mental distress and punk rock. A diary written by psychiatrist Dr. Rodney H. Dweller, concerning his patient, Nathaniel Snoxell, brought to him in 1979 because of several attempted suicides. Snoxell gets involved in the anarchist punk scene, and begins recording songs and playing gigs at anarchist centers. In 1985, the good doctor himself “goes insane” and disappears. This semi-autobiographical novel from Rudimentary Peni singer, guitarist, lyricist, and illustrator, Nick Blinko, plunges into the worlds of madness, suicide, and anarchist punk. H. P. Lovecraft meets Crass in the squats and psychiatric institutions of early 1980s England.



Left Of The Dial: Conversations with Punk Icons

Featuring interviews with leading figures of the punk underground: Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat/Fugazi), Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys), Dave Dictor (MDC), and many more. Ensminger probes the legacy of punk’s sometimes fuzzy political ideology, its ongoing DIY traditions, its rupture of cultural and social norms, its progressive media ecology, its transgenerational and transnational appeal, its pursuit of social justice, its hybrid musical nuances, and its sometimes ambivalent responses to queer identities, race relations, and its own history.



Pre-paid orders over $250 get a 50% discount on all the titles in this post! 

Order fifteen or more books, get a free display box!
Just select “wholesale” when you order on our site (check out our terms 


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Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever Valentine’s Day Spectacular

true loveWe’ve been thinking a lot about love lately…. specifically about the great historical couple whose epic spats and charming make-ups grace the pages of so many of our favorite books. You know who we mean: Glenn and Henry. Our friend Brett Marren put together this little video in homage to their romance, and to Valentines everywhere, warts and all. Watch the video and don’t forget to pick up a copy of the book for your own sweetie (or for your own sweet self).


Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever Valentines Day Spectacular from Microcosm Publishing on Vimeo.



outside the speak in tongues punk space in 1997 cleveland

Calling for submissions for the Scene History series!

Are you stoked about the history of your town? handwritten "clean up your mess" sign at Speak in TonguesDo you find out interesting nuggets by talking to those who came before you or by scouting out details on Google and Wikipedia? Do you want a reason to hunt out some people you respect and fill in the gaps?

Well, the Scene History series is an opportunity to do just that. Like our Simple History Series, we will publish a new volume each year of the Scene History series that tell the story of a particular city’s scene. (the series does not profile individuals, albums, or bands, and must be framed around a real scene, no fiction!)

Suggested length is 15,000-30,000 words. Get as creative as you find gratifying. Learn about your favorite places and how things developed.

Check out the existing Scene Histories here!

To pitch, just send a general summary of the scene that you are profiling, the years profiled, and your qualifications/interest to profile it! Will it be prose or comics? Do you have access to photos and images? Why are you excited to do this?

The most common trap that people run into writing for this series is that they want to write an encyclopedia—everything that happened in sequence, include all of their friends, and generally share every detail and almost immediately they spiral away from any kind of coherent narrative at all.
In any writing and especially for this series, it’s important to maintain a narrative structure—the scene is the protagonist and your story needs to show the scene changing as a result of resolving the conflict.
Create an outline for us to review—Intro, Chapters, Conclusion—with one to three paragraphs describing each section. Each section’s description should open by stating the main knowledge and skills the reader will take from that chapter, and giving us a little color about what sort of research, science, details, and/or examples it touches on. This isn’t busywork and typically becomes the frame and the actual opening text to each chapter. Even after work has been accepted, this exercise is the first step towards the editorial process.

Submit or ask questions to joe at microcosmpublishing daht com

Building a Cookie Tin Banjo with How & Why!

I’m a banjo enthusiast. That’s something I’ve made peace with. But building a banjo? I never thought I’d be capable of managing a hacksaw while keeping my jugular intact, let alone make a scrappy instrument that sounds rad! While editing How & Why, our latest DIY guide for the next apocalypse, Matte Resist’s instructions for building musical instruments gave me the push to try it out myself—and build a fretless banjo from a cookie tin.

Cookies plus banjos. It wasn’t a hard sell for me.

I bought an old cookie tin with a 9” diameter for $1. It provides a sturdy base to hold the neck (along with the tension of the strings) while being a good carrier of sweet tunes. Bigger equals louder. Then I cut a slot for the neck with a box cutter (see below) on what would be at the bottom of the tin’s side—that way, I can still take off the lid when the banjo’s done!

Diagram 1

Want to learn to construct your own banjo f or just a few bucks? Pick up your own copy of How and Why!

Hey pals! Help us Publish the New Scam Anthology!

Dear awesome pals,

Always looking for new ways to keep print media alive, we at the Microcosm Publishing clubhouse have teamed up with the super sweet Kickstarter.com, a new fundraising website that allows artists and small companies to appeal for donations for upcoming projects. Recently profiled on Pitchfork Media and in the New York Times, Kickstarter works on a time-based system; you set the amount you want to raise for your project; family, friends, and fans can donate via the site; and if the amount isn’t raised by the specified date, no money is given over to the project. Rad.

Our Kickstarter project is publishing an anthology of the beloved long-running zine Scam which will cost over $11,000 to print. Scam is a hard look at finding a better way to live, about pushing for ultimate freedom, and discovering the alternative histories of America. As said A People’s History of America author Howard Zinn about Scam editor Erick Lyle, “Forget the statistics and pretentious analysis of urban society. Take a walk through the city with Erick Lyle and discover the reality of how people live in an American city.” The Scam anthology will collect Lyle’s long out-of-print work and give it a deserved platform for all to read.

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Everyone who donates something will receive a gift in return–with increasingly larger gifts as the donation amount goes up! (The gifts are listed below the press release.)

To read more about Microcosm’s Kickstarter campaign and watch a video describing the whole shebang, go to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/897079804/scam-the-first-four-issues

For questions email joe@microcosmpublishing.com

Your friends,

Joe Biel, Jessie Duquette, Rio Safari, E. Chris Lynch, Steven Stoddard, Sparky Taylor, Matt Gauck, Adam Gnade, and Wade the Cat.

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Pledge $5 or more

You will receive updates about this project and we’ll give you a shout out for making it all happen on our website and in our newsletter.

Pledge $10 or more

In addition to the above, you will receive a copy of 13 Years of Goodluck.

Pledge $15 or more

In addition to the above, you will get a copy of the Scam Anthology and we’ll add your name to the Special Thanks section on the website and in our newsletter.

Pledge $25 or more

In addition to the above, you also get a copy of the Zine Yearbook #9

Pledge $30 or more

In addition to the above, you also get a copy of Xtra Tuf #5 by Moe Bowstern

Pledge $35 or more

In addition to the above, you also get a copy of Xerography Debt #25 and #26

Pledge $45 or more

In addition to the above, you also get a copy of Cantankerous Titles DVD

Pledge $50 or more

In addition to the above, you also get a copy of Sounds of Your Name by Nate Powell

Pledge $60 or more

In addition to the above, you also get a copy of Dreamwhip 14 by Bill Brown

Pledge $65 or more

In addition to the above, you also get a copy of Constant Rider by Kate Lopresti

Pledge $75 or more

In addition to the above, you also get a copy of the Best of Intentions by Keith Rosson

Pledge $85 or more

In addition to the above, you also get a copy of Things Are Meaning Less by Al Burian

Pledge $100 or more

In addition to the above, you also get an original edition $100 & T-shirt DVD

Pledge $200 or more

In addition to the above, you also get a six-month BFF subscription (we will send you all of our new published titles each month)

Pledge $300 or more

In addition to the above, you get all of those plus a copies of Brainfag Forever by Nate Beaty, Chainbreaker Bike Book, CIA Makes Science Fiction Unexciting #5, Distance Makes The Heart Grow Sick by Cristy Road, DIY Screenprinting by John Isaacson, Dwelling Portably ’80-89, I Hate This Part of Texas/Keep Loving, Keep Fighting, Invincible Summer Volumne I and II by Nicole Georges, Mostly True by Bill Daniel, My Brain Hurts Vol. 1 by Liz Baille, Rough Guide to Bicycle Maintenance, Snakepit 2007 by Ben Snakepit, Still We Ride DVD, Welcome to the Dahl House by Ken Dahl, X Ray Visions DVD (and soundtrack CD), and Zinester’s Guide to Portland

Pledge $400 or more

In addition to the above, you also get copies of The CIA Makes Science Fiction Unexciting #1-4, On Subbing by Dave Roche, Doris Anthology by Cindy Crabb, Hot Damn & Hell Yeah / The Dirty South Cookbook by Vanessa Doe and Ryan Splint, Best of Intentions: The Avow Anthology by Keith Rossen, Coffeeshop Crushes, Homeland Insecurity DVD, and a Microcosm T-shirt