"And now," Gleue said when I spoke with him on the phone some months ago, "I have the comics for recreational purposes."
Much like the songs he recorded in his various outfits -- most notably, the legendary 39 Clocks, and his solo project, Phantom Payn -- his comics are playful, sardonic and, above all else, hallucinatory. He self-publishes them in runs of 50 or so, then hands them out to friends, acquaintances and strangers in the streets of Hannover.
"But why comics?" I asked.
"I like the way small fanzines relate to larger magazines, especially in terms of subversion," he returned.
Subversion's always been a big part of Gleue's life, especially in terms of art. Or as he calls it, "primitive art, a sort of anti-art." From the early '70s through most of the '80s, he and co-conspirator Christian Henjes/C.H.-39 took immense pleasure in crafting crude, provocative ditties like "Stupid Art" -- noisy and anthemic tunes that borrowed as much from the monkeyshines of Dada as they did the repetition of the Velvet Underground and the rank confrontation and canned beats of Suicide, whose live show directly influenced the Clocks' antagonism. They played often, despite -- or because of -- threats from angry crowds, cross words from prestigious artists (Joseph Beuys) and a hefty influx of drink and drug.
Such chaotic creative tension couldn't last long. Impressively, though, their self-proclaimed "psycho beat" endured until '87 or so. And when the smoke cleared, J.G.-39 started recording moodier solo efforts under the name Phantom Payn.