(Kicks Books/Norton) To celebrate their 25th anniversary Norton Records got ink-slinger Avi Spivak to illustrate the surreal history of their label and to tell the tales of the sublime stars that make up their all-star, all-scarred roster. If I have not expressed this enough times, Norton Records is one of the greatest label in the history of groove etching, and the only ill will I hold towards it is that its success led to the cessation of Kicks magazine, my all favorite rock n roll publication, whose inspirational, jaw-dropping, splendid 7-issue run has as much to do with Roctober reaching 50 issues/20 years as anything else on earth or in Heaven. What makes Kicks/Norton so boss is that they are all about championing characters, and good characters make good comix, so this is a pretty posh periodical. Highlights include Norton’s Billy Miller recalling Dolemite’s dole-a-mightiness saving him from a beatdown, and Del Shannon schooling him at pinball. We see Norton Queen Miriam Linna fining an Arthur Lee pre-Love demo in a box of garbage lounge band tapes, and we see Sky Saxon hiding from the cops by singing onstage with the Norton house band, the A-Bones. We marvel at Screaming Jay getting in a street fight with Esquirita, and finally get to see the tale of Hasil Adkins eating the Andy Warhol soup can brought to life in glorious black n white! There’s T. Valentine scaring his cab riders, Question Mark confounding everyone, and Andre Williams getting sinning with Ike Turner. If you know who these oddballs are you will be thrilled to see them in inky richness that would make R. Crumb trade in his jazz 78s for teen garage band acetates, and if you’ve never heard of these cats, the playful presentation, dynamic art, and thrilling stories here will quickly have you hooked on the strangest stable of stars ever assembled. It’s enough to make me not miss Kicks for na hour!