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Dive into the indignity of being a teen in the early 2000s with the FIRST-EVER collection of S.E. Case's RIGSBY WI Vol 1: Foothold!

Be sure to head over to Iron Circus Comics' Backerkit campaign to back this 120-page graphic novel; you have until May 2, @ 11 PM EDT! Best of all, Iron Circus Comics has provided us with an EXCLUSIVE look at pages 51-57 AND a playlist with commentary from S.E. Case, which you can find below, as well as an excerpt from the book!!


Creator - S.E. Case

Being a teenager in small-town America's never been a cakewalk. But, for one kid at least, it sure as hell beats the alternative!

Bethany has finally gotten some much-needed stability since her move to Rigsby, Wisconsin. She's out of the crosshairs of her oppressively disapproving mother, and a like-minded cadre of locals—Jeordie, Erik, and Anna—have made her feel welcome. After all, they're four kids with a lot of experience in knowing how to escape a world that's constantly closing in.

But there's no resisting the inexorable march of time. Prom is coming, and after that, graduation. And before they're forced to contend with either? Beth's mom will dropping by.

Y'know, just to check in.

“Case does a great job with expressions, and I love the various ways her characters change and grow over time.”—Women Write About Comics


Excerpt from RIGSBY WI


Exclusive Preview: Pages 51-57


When you’re young, you have so little control over your own life — you are subject to the whims of your parents or guardians, which is not always a bad thing if they truly have your best interests at heart, but unfortunately that’s not the case for all kids,” said cartoonist S.E. Case. “Part of being a teenager is trying to figure out who you are, and that’s hard — but even harder when those around you cannot accept who you discover yourself to be. Will anyone recognize your value as a person when your goal is not to make the football team, or get into a prestigious college, or be crowned homecoming queen, but to simply get through the experience of being a teenager relatively unscathed? Maybe smoking weed in the woods and stealing sunglasses from the mall aren’t the most productive coping mechanisms, but what else is a disaffected 16-year-old in a rural town to do?
 Sometimes as a teen in a small town, you can feel trapped — trapped enough to want to gnaw off your own leg to escape. Bethany has gotten some much needed stability in Rigsby, WI — she's away from her oppressively disapproving mother, and the other local teens Jeordie, Erik, and Anna have welcomed her in — and together the four of them know how to escape from the world that is closing in on them. While Case’s vibrant art and naturalistic writing doesn't shy away from the rougher experiences and feelings of teens, it also covers the truly important topics like, “is Phish a good band?”, “is the neck the dong of the torso?” and “Ernest Hemingway: Was he a piece of shit?” Nostalgic, sweet, bitter and funny all at once, RIGSBY WI feels like a teenage afternoon spent with friends, with all the pathos, boredom and absurdity inherent therein. 

Exclusive Playlist & Commentary from Cartoonist S.E. CASE

When I was in high school, a big way you connected with other kids and expressed who you were was through the music you listened to. So when I set out to write a comic about teenagers in the early 2000s, I thought a lot about the bands and songs the different characters would like. Here are some songs for each character. I tried to pick ones that they would listen to, but also say something about who they are. There are some songs at the end for me, too.



Songs for Beth

Fuck the Pain Away — Peaches

In the original online version of Rigsby, Beth sings this song while getting ready in the morning, but the lyrics were removed for the print version. Beth loves this song (and Peaches), partially because Peaches is legitimately great, but also because it was some of the most objectionable music she could find at age 15 and would make her mom upset. When I was a teenager, my friends and I used to drive around town, blasting this song in the most benign act of rebellion against social decency possible.


Piss Up a Rope — Ween

In the second volume of the Rigsby series, Beth soothes her friend Anna’s hangover by playing guitar and making up lyrics to a country song about catching your husband having sex with a horse. I feel like maybe this song could have inspired her. I always thought the album title 12 Golden Country Greats was kind of a joke, considering there are only 10 songs on the album. But I recently learned that the 12 referred to the musicians featured on the album? Mind blown. Gene and Dean Ween make music in the same vein as Frank Zappa or Les Claypool — super prolific, talented musicians who create really well-crafted, musically ambitious songs they pair with some of the stupidest, most unmarketable lyrics possible. I respect that and I think Beth would too.  


Hast Thou Considered the Tetrapod? — The Mountain Goats

This song is a little anachronistic for this list because I’m trying to put together songs the characters would listen to at the beginning of the first volume, set in 2002, but The Sunset Tree didn’t come out until 2005. Still, this is an appropriate song for Beth, who spends much of the series trying to stay out of view of her oppressive parents.


Held under these waves

by your strong and thick-veined hand

but one of these days

I’m gonna wriggle up on dry land




Songs for Jeordie

Bouncing Around the Room — Phish

I’ve heard this described as a piss break song by diehard Phish fans. It’s definitely not a deep cut or one of their 20-minute long jams, but that’s probably part of why Jeordie likes it. It’s maybe a little more digestible than your standard Phish fare. I like this song too. A lot of Jeordie’s musical sensibilities were influenced by his older brother, Darius, who was going through a real heavy jam band bro phase right around the time Jeordie started developing his musical tastes. Jeordie mostly started listening to/tolerating them as a way to bond with Darius, who he idolized, but eventually found some songs he genuinely enjoyed. I give my husband shit for liking Phish, but I secretly…tolerate them. They’re fine.


XXplosive — Dr. Dre ft. Hittman, Six-Two, Nate Dogg and Kurupt

Jeordie sings part of Nate Dogg’s verse from this song in the online version of Rigsby, but I replaced that page in the print version with a conversation between Jeordie and Beth about Back That Azz Up by Juvenile. I put this song in the playlist instead of that one, though, because I think Jeordie would like this song better. The sample on this song (from the Shaft soundtrack) paired with Nate Dogg’s voice is so buttery and satisfying. I bought The Chronic 2001 when I was 13; this was, and still is, my favorite song from that album.


Hybrid Moments — The Misfits

Sometimes I wonder how much my high school friends, many of whom had black Misfits shirts or skull patches on their safety-pinned together hoodies, actually listened to the Misfits, or if they just liked the cool skull design (there’s nothing wrong with that). Even if they weren’t hardcore fans, everyone certainly liked this song. Originally I was going to put Last Caress on this playlist instead, which includes lyrics about killing a baby — a very appealing topic for edgy teens, but I think Jeordie would like Hybrid Moments better (which I think is about…the film Aliens? Maybe?) Jeordie has a small collection of older punk/hardcore in his cd collection, but he probably doesn’t own Static Age — this song would be on a mix CD of random shit he got from Kazaa.


If you're gonna scream, scream with me

Moments like this never last



Songs for Anna

March of the Pigs — Nine Inch Nails

Related to the Misfits anecdote above: when I was in high school, there were a few kids who had mega boners for NiN and would get really aggressive toward other kids who wore NiN t-shirts if they didn’t deem them to be true enough fans. A Hot Topic had just opened at the mall and everyone was on high alert for “posers.” As a teen I thought this behavior seemed normal, even rational.


Ratfinks, Suicide Tanks and Cannibal Girls — White Zombie

I first encountered this song when I was 8 years old, while watching the critically-acclaimed cinematic masterpiece Beavis and Butthead Do America. Stranded in the desert and dying of dehydration, Beavis crawls to a cactus, taking a few bites in an attempt to rehydrate himself. Unfortunately, the innocent and succulent-looking cactus is actually peyote, and this song plays over an animated, Ed Roth-esque hallucination sequence with character designs by Rob Zombie, complete with rotting corpses, demons and big-titty ladies. I really can’t believe my mom agreed to take me to that movie when I was 8, but I thought it was cool as hell. Anyway, this song kicks ass. Rob Zombie is Anna’s all-time favorite musician. It was a toss-up between this and Living Dead Girl, but I wanted to talk about the Beavis and Butthead movie, so this song won. The only thing I really have to say about Living Dead Girl is that one time I got a lap dance from a goth stripper to that song. It was…fine.


Heroes — David Bowie

I feel like David Bowie had a little bit of a resurgence amongst angsty teens when I was in high school, because Trent Reznor did a remix of I’m Afraid of Americans and appeared in the music video. I think I started listening to David Bowie when I was maybe…15? I used to go to a friend’s house and smoke pot with her and her brother in their basement, and we’d listen to Ziggy Stardust and scream at each other like idiots. I’m so glad I started listening to David Bowie; it helped transition me out of my terrible Nu-Metal phase. Really, this playlist should have more Nu-Metal on it but…I tried re-listening to some of it and it is such an unfortunate genre. I can’t, in good conscious, subject anyone to it.


And the shame was on the other side

Oh, we can beat them forever and ever

Then we can be heroes, just for one day




Music for me

Black Water — Timber Timbre

I listened to Timber Timbre a lot when working on the Rigsby series, particularly the second volume. Timber Timbre has a great sound, their oldest albums are rural and swampy, later evolving into distorted, crooning Everly-Brothers-in-hell sound, and eventually to David Lynch-esque slimy synth. This particular song has a great music video, featuring the corpse of a diver being lifted from the ocean floor by deep sea creatures. It appears to have all been done with puppets and really cool practical effects. Timber Timbre rules and everybody should listen to them.


SpottieOttieDopaliscious — Outkast

I love Outkast and this is probably my favorite Outkast song. I’ve always interpreted it as being about being young and finding joy in a somewhat unforgiving world — sometimes with unintended and unfair consequences. Andre 3000 raps about about flirting with a woman at a club and feeling on top of the world. But meanwhile outside of the club, people are getting taken away in an ambulance after a fight, and there’s shouting and chaos. Similarly, Big Boi’s verse talks about meeting his dream woman and falling in love, but then having an unplanned child he is unable to support. People do a lot of things in the moment to cope with the situation they’re in, even if it may not serve them well in the future. I think this is especially true when you’re young and lack perspective, and, more importantly, resources. It’s something that I like to explore a lot in my work, and it’s a pretty major theme in Rigsby as a whole.


Rings — Aesop Rock

I started drawing comics when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I wanted to be a professional cartoonist and I spent my high school and college years trying to hone my skills, putting together absurd little zines with my longarm stapler and trying to make my friends laugh. But…when I started working on Rigsby in 2018, I hadn’t drawn a single comic in six years. I still drew occasionally, and while I genuinely enjoyed what I drew, I spent most of my time trying to create art that I thought someone else would like, or would make me seem like a “serious artist”, or would “sell”. The last comic I had created was a webcomic called Cheap Thrills. It was a comic I created solely for myself and I assumed that nobody else wanted. But people read it, and it seemed to resonate with them. At some point, though, I got too in my head about it — I was very, very slowly climbing my way out of poverty and it seemed like an embarrassment and a waste of time to continue to work on a passion project that, seemingly, would never generate any critical reception or revenue (this was about a year before Patreon became a thing). But six years later, I felt like I had lost something integral to my own humanity, and I wanted to make things that spoke to my own truth. I listened to this song a lot when I started making comics again. I felt a lot of anger and regret for giving up on something I had once been so passionate about. This song captures a lot of those feelings.


Routine day with a dirt cheap brush

Then a week goes by and it goes untouched

Then two, then three, then a month

And the rest of your life, you beat yourself up

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