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Big Bot Design's Chad Maupin debuts "Rant" zine with Flavor Clown

Local comic and visual artist Chad Maupin, also known as Big Bot Design is releasing a new creative project. "Rant" is a zine, or self-published magazine, with rotating themes and content. The first edition of Rant is centered around Fayetteville folklore, and features local legend Chris “Clunk” Selby, or Flavor Clown.

To order a copy of the first edition "Rant", or to see more of Chris’ work, you can go to his website.

Interview transcript:

Chad Maupin, CM: That's why it's called Rant. I can jokingly like, complain. I’m not complaining about Chris of course…

Chris Selby, CS: But it'd be hilarious if this is all a complaint.

CM: Yeah, the whole thing was just like, this piece of crap. You guys gotta know. You think he's a nice guy?

CS: I don't know. I don't see it till it's out there.

CM: Yeah, you have no idea.

Sophia Nourani, SN: So introduce yourself to the audience.

CM: I'm Chad Maupin. I'm an illustrator and graphic designer.

CS: Oh, and I'm Chris Selby. Most people know me as Clunk. And I just kind of deliver food and goof around.

SN: So, Rant. Tell me how it came together and why you called it Rant… you already said it.

CM: Yeah. I'm very opinionated. Most artists are. And you know, I kept feeling empty, posting things online and sharing opinions online. And no one's really having a conversation. No one's listening online, everyone's just taking a turn on a soapbox and shouting into the void. And 2022, I have a memoir comic I'm working on and I wanted to work on a zine that wasn't so illustration heavy, because comics are really time consuming. And I want to have a way to express myself and have a conversation with people. So I intentionally started pulling back on posting opinion- based things online, but we'll save that for art you make or something you want to do and put it in a more effective place. And as 2022 went along, I got really sick. And by the end of that year, in early 2023, I was about to die. And they found out I had a lung disease. And so I got on oxygen, and I started recovering. And I'm a lot more stable now. But part of my recovery was, as soon as I could, trying to get back to going to the library every day, because that was like a sacred space to me for years where I would draw. Kind of my second office, meeting people there and hanging out. And I wanted to get there as soon as I could, and start trying to feel tethered to the future, again, because when you're that sick, and you're staring that kind of stuff down for a while you're sort of outside of life with everyone else, it's really strange. And so a really valuable part of my recovery was coming up with the concept, different types of topics. Thinking about what it might be like, you know, Rant is the name, but it's not literal. I'm not like shouting at people. It's not angry. It's facts, opinions, and it’s delivered sincerely. But also, hopefully enough with a lot of fun. And there's a letters page, I want people to read it and feel comfortable emailing me and I'll print responses and critiques and I'm kind of looking forward to seeing what people have to say back. Part of the early thought process of the zine was to have broad topics like issue two is about cults. So there's things like that, but I also wanted to mix in issues about Fayetteville folklore, like things I loved about Fayetteville because I love Fayetteville, and it really changed my life a lot moving up here. And so early on, I thought, well, I've got to hit up, Chris, because that's an obvious whole issue to have Chris Selby in it. So. But anyway, part of my recovery was just trying to develop this. And then going into this year, I was excited to finally think, well, I can maybe finally get something new and creative that I made after being sick and being so limited. So it's been really fun.

CS: And I have a very pretty face that's easily recognizable. So people want that.

CM: I’ve drawn Chris 127 times now. Seven T-shirts.

CS: Have you drawn 120?

CM: No, not really.

CS: Like what are you sitting on?

CM: Also, that was another reason he intersects with a lot of things, and local culture up here that a lot of younger people may not know about. And I think it's good role modeling for the sort of grass roots work that culture building is. I think we're in a world that's so ruled by corporations, that we get lulled into thinking, ‘Well, I gotta get a grant, or I gotta get this or that.’ And in a sense, what you're saying is, I need to get corporate approval to make culture. You do not need anyone to make culture, you just need each other, and human beings have been making culture for each other, as long as we were able. So I kind of want to push back against that and show somebody like Chris, who's done that, made spaces for culture here. Given a room for voices and different types of people exposed people here to different things. And he didn't have corporate backing. He didn't have any permission. He just rolled up his sleeves and did it. So I thought that was a really great choice as well for the first issue.

SN: So yeah, the first issue. Tell me your experience with the zine? How did that process kind of work?

CS: He said, ‘Come meet me in the library. I need to tell you something.’ And I said well, he's been weakened with his disease, so maybe he won't fight that well. So maybe it’ll just be words, which I can handle. But he was just, he's done me on a couple shirts and, like, originally, I never asked or wanted to be on a shirt. Like it wasn't anything that I was looking for. Because that's a little weird, you know, with your face on a shirt. I love it. But I did some stupid videos that were like ‘Clunk for mayor’ and made some posts and did this thing. And Chad, I don't think I knew you very well, back then.

CM: No, I was aware of you. I don't. And we were like Facebook friends.

CS: Yeah, maybe I met him once. And I was like, ‘Dude, I love that.’ He's like, ‘Let's do a campaign shirt, and some stickers and all this stuff.’ And I'm like, ‘What?’ And he's like, ‘Yeah, man.’ I was like, cool. I thought it was a great idea. But it's like, yeah, I just wanted to say, I'm not a person who had to get my face on a shirt. Because I'm sure everyone thinks, ‘Why does he keep putting his face on a shirt?’ I think it's fun. It took me about six years before I ever wore one with my face on it.

CM: For the record, Chris isn't a narcissist that demanded I make T shirts. That's not what happened.

CS: Just wanted to be sure to make that clear. But anyway, I met him there. And he explained his health issues and how he wanted to do the Rant zine. And he just wanted to make me the first person because I looked good. For the first edition, and yeah, so we did. I don't know, we talked for a while, we probably did an interview right off, because I was like, ‘Of course, we'll do this.’

CM: The zine has an interview with Chris that gives some background information on, you know, his history here. There's essays that were contributed from a couple of local musicians about the impact. And I've got a lot of silly things I made up to sort of tell his story, or spotlight him but also just make the information really fun and easy. There's retro ads, there's photo collages of the Clunk Music Hall so people can get a good sense of the vibe. There's just a lot of fun information, there's a timeline of the shirts we've done together, which was really funny to me to see them all laid out and go, ‘Wow, this is really a lot.’ It ended up becoming like a whole line of merch, basically.

CS: And it looks absolutely amazing. I mean, he's just telling you what he did. But like, just listening to us talk, you can't see how good it looks. So anyway.

CM: Thank you.

CS: Look it up, because he's not gonna say I'm super good at this. But he's amazing.

CM: Well, being as sick as I was, mentally and physically, you know, you're so beat up. It took me almost all year just to feel like I could do anything like that, well, again, which is very strange, because I've never struggled with that. I've always been confident in that, and really creative. I mean, as a little kid, I just drew constantly and always had a million ideas. And when you're in that state, it is bizarre. You're just like, I don't know, I didn't have energy to read or to think or so it's been really a process to recover. And having a creative outlet of some sort, you know, really was a huge part of it. And I think if I hadn't had that it would have been really tough to manage it mentally not to feel like I had something I could noodle with. I can't really work at all the way I used to, as far as frequency or volume, but something like this I can noodle around with until it's ready. And so that allows you to have that creative outlet and feel like you're still yourself without the pressure of like I'm letting down a client because it's taking too long or why can't this look better? Well if it's just for me, I can just be picky about it until I'm happy and then release it and hope people like it. And I do. I think there's the first thing I've done since I got sick that I did for myself that I'm happy about. That I went, ‘Okay, so this is a finished thing that I like. So it feels really good. But really it's about Chris. You know, crassly, I didn't choose him for this reason, but he fits all these boxes of things I want to talk about. But also, I knew people… It's a great way to introduce the zine because, you know, everyone loves Chris. So it's an obvious easy sell. You know, another Chris shirt, sold. Another book about Chris sold. You know.

CS: Another book about… Chris?

CM: Well, the first book about Chris, probably not the last.

SN: Hey, this is just the beginning.

CM: The Clunk Industrial Complex has consumed me. It's probably not over.

CS: I need to become much more interesting.

CM: You're pretty interesting. I think you're underselling yourself.

SN: Yeah, would you want to describe like the persona, and just your experiences in Fayetteville? Talk a little bit about yourself.

CS: Um, okay, well. Oh, yeah, I moved here in August of 1994. Right after I graduated college from UCA Central Arkansas, purple bears. And I, I was really into, you know, punk music, different types of music. And I always wanted to have a record store. So I started, like a little record store, Clunk Records, which is where my name came from. And kind of went from there, Clunk Music Hall. And then I mean, because of the record store in the music hall. People kind of knew who I was from that and bringing in bands and whatnot. And then just being a dumbass on the internet, like social media, goofing around, and hating birds and stuff. And then also just riding around with a big gold helmet on a scooter, I’m pretty easily recognized and I don't get mad at people very often.

CM: So, that's how I became aware. I moved here in 2007. I became aware of Chris, because

CS: I did not get mad at you.

CM: Yeah. Well, he was a social media character, almost like a Paul Bunyan. You know, like this mythic guy. Riding around on a scooter with a helmet. And that's how I knew him. I just thought he was cool. And a nice guy.

SN: You've talked about it already. Why did you decide to use a zine as your medium for this?

CM: So the difference between comics and a zine. A zine is essentially, amateur magazine, they were really started in the ‘60s of some of the earliest forms of fandom, people would make them on mimeograph machines for their Star Trek club, or, you know, things like that. And it was the earliest form of fandom. And they might luck out, like someone would meet a guy that was on an episode of Star Trek, and would interview them. And they were very amateur, very freeform, because there's no corporate dollars. So zines today are a really interesting cultural movement. And I really like them and they can just be all sorts of things. It's just a self published pamphlet, or magazine, for lack of a better word. And, you know, there's people that do zines about poetry, or they just have essays or there might be zines that are just art pieces, visual art. So they can vary quite a bit. The form of Rant as a zine is going to be a combination of writing essays, some comics, parody stuff, it's just sort of like a hodgepodge of things that I like, as a kid that grew up reading Mad Magazine. And plus, I was just a voracious reader, I'd read my dad's grown up magazines, so I like talking to people and writing, but I also like to be silly. So each issue will have a little different tone based on the subject matter. And I'm a graphic designer. So the design look will change per issue, because it's just a way for me to play around.

CS: Do you know where you're going for number two?

CM: Yeah, I do. I've already laid things out. And I've got interviews done and it's about cults.

CS: That's right.

CM: I've interviewed people who've been in cults and I sort of have an outline started.

CS: That's a good one.

CM: But a zine is sort of, you know, that.

SN: Where can people get their own copy? Is it online or in person?

CM: The preorder has ended, but I've ordered extra. So if somebody wants to get a copy, they can go to my website. And there's a store there, and there's a few extra shirts and extra zines. The zine will also be carried physically at Pearls Books and Block Street Records. So you can go there and get a copy physically. And I really appreciate those two stores for reaching out and offering to carry it. And that's another thing that's been really nice is other than reaching out to Chris, I haven't reached out to anyone, and I've had different people reach out and offer to promote it to sell it. And it really makes me feel good after a year and a half of feeling like I was locked in a cave to kind of feel like I'm back in my community and engaging with people. It's been a really great experience so far.

Ozarks at Large transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. The authoritative record of KUAF programming is the audio record.

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Sophia Nourani is a producer and reporter. She is a graduate from the University of Arkansas with a BA in journalism and political science. Sophia was raised in San Antonio, Texas.
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