KOOL MAN: The Amazing Story of
by Sean Tejarachi
‘Subliminal Tattoos’ was a quarterly underground
culture magazine and it attracted well-known
names to the point that by #2, Harvey Pekar, Mary
Fleener, Paul Williams, Joe Zabel and Jim Siergey
& Tom Roberts (of the comic strip Cultural Jetlag)
and the like could be seen under its letterhead
and it got big enough to get distributed into places
like Tower Records. However, if you were to see
page one on any given ST issue, you will notice
that under the titles of publisher, editor, design
and art direction laid only one name, Robert
DuPree. Considering the 100 pages per issue and
the mountain of material he managed to fill, he
certainly had the drive to crank this out on a
Unfortunately for the magazine’s “legacy” (for lack of a better term), it was his drive that also became the
titles undoing and his downfall….and it was a very hard fall, leaving behind a flaming trail of megalomania behavior stretched across the zine world like drunken Godzilla scorching Tokyo..and how wide and deep did the burn get? Ask Sean Tejarachi of the clip art zine, Crap Hound.
The relationship between the two started off fine with
an pleasantry exchange of issues and subscriptions,
but when Robert noticed that Sean used a small piece
from Wally Wood’s underground art masterpiece,
Disneyland Memorial Orgy (a picture of Tinkerbelle
stripping) in one of the exchanged issues, Robert
accused Sean of directly ripping the illustration off
from his first ST issue. Sean denied this as he never
saw Robert’s issue before the exchange, but when he
casually referred to ST as “small” and “locally-
produced”, Robert flew off the handle with letters high in drama: “I mean, it’s okay for you to say you’ve
‘never heard of SUBLIMINAL TATTOOS – but
unfortunately, everyone else at both the local and
national media-levels, so your claim means nothing.
Except that you don’t get out much, or read papers.”
Robert would talk of this incident for many ST issues
and correspondence with friends and enemies to
come. Needless to say, the DuPree Express took off.
After that intense episode and a follow-up fight over a quote Robert claimed Sean made, Sean felt a
sense of “frontier justice and public service” by doing some research and found out that he was far from
the only one caught in DuPree’s crosshairs. There were many targets within Robert’s range, some of
which had paper trails of incendiary correspondence …..and this is where ‘Kool Man’ comes in.
Placed in chronological order, these letters takes the reader on a voyage of DuPree’s mind and ego as
he shift gears between networking, passive aggressive behavior, hypocrisy (especially in the field of his
“New Age Christianity”), outright threats and, at its worse, making sexual advances on his female
correspondence. To go further into detail of how the hole got deep and painful would hurt my head and
my fingers. With each letter, each victim, each episode, each mistake, DuPree psyche spins obsessively
out of control to the point of emotional violence.
There’s a rather sad episode with DuPree’s other publication, the sex-zine RUBE. It was originally
presented as a per-zine with four roommates detailing their sexual adventures with each other, but it was
later revealed that it was all DuPree desperate imagination. One early review called out DuPree from
behind these characters and accused him of using the zine as “fuckbait”, which, as later letters and
personal accounts reveal, was true.
..and if THAT wasn’t enough, there was the infamous Crumb issue (ST #6, right) that pissed off R. Crumb and his publisher Fantagraphics Books, his forays into burning himself and
everyone around him on the internet, threating Factsheet Five with lawsuits over bad reviews and the RUBE call-out, claiming a conspiracy from ‘The Cabal’ (which was everybody in zineland he had burned so far), etc., etc., etc., With each of these, with each attempt to spin control, the deeper DuPree Shit Hole gets and brighter the flames that consumed ST with #8 being the final issue….with Sean picking up each smelly piece and updating Kool Man with each reprint.
Reading all of the damage DuPree left behind can be exhausting, especially in one reading. Not much was known of him before this published timeline and nothing else after this explosion with many arrows firmly shoved up his moody ass. I
suspect that he’s either working for Fox News or Breitbart these days…
UPDATE: DuPree’s stench maybe gone but KOOL MAN is still available through Microcosm
Publishing. Sean can be seen at his Tumblr page.