Alternating Crimes has been a voice for original thinkers from North Carolina and nationally since the mid 1980’s where it began as a literary arts magazine that featured comics. Since those Reagan era horror infested days, it’s been a comic book that drove Hell Car and now it’s moved online exposing new alternating currents.

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Paul Friedrich

Paul Friedrich

Paul Friedrich has been a presence in my life in one way or another since elementary school. It has been a fun ride to watch. And though I doubt I’ve ever heard him say it, it also seemed to have been a long, persistent and relentless ride. Mostly because the man rarely stops to take a break. Creatively at least. Once he creates a universe of characters, he plays with them for a while through varying media and marketing gymnastics, and he then puts them aside for use later. Why? Because it’s time to start a new universe! But he’s always been like that. I remember from the corner of my 5th grade classroom where I first encountered Paul’s Zimmy character and cartoon cast before even laying eyes on the lad, I knew a creative challenge had been issued by the rising king of cartoons in our region.


I lost track of Paul for a few years, but we shared a school year at one school, again at East Carolina University. Rekindling friendships over beers at parties. Meanwhile he had moved on from Zimmy and his cast to the much more adult Hubie the Dead Cow and that cast of slackers. Appropriately serialized in the University newspaper.

And after college he shows up with arguably his greatest creation, the Onion Head Monster and an explosive cast. At that point we introduced HellCar Comix together. Little did I realize at the time I was just a passenger.

You can find plenty of content on our time doing HellCar throughout the Alternating Crimes website and in blog posts, but I’d like to take the opportunity to include an Onion Head Monster story that appeared in the first issues of HellCar comics in its entirety.

As things would change for me, Paul took over as sole owner of the HellCar brand and drove it for many more issues. In the interview found on the site Paul gave me a rundown on how it’s continuing history:

“After a couple dozen issues, the comic book became a DVD featuring comics, music, games and trailers. It ran for 30 issues before the coalition of record stores moved on and began Record Store Day which has become a worldwide success. At the time of publication entertaining comic stories were rare. First person autobiographical stories with tragic outlooks was the trend. When we worked together, and after, we tried to find a balance of female cartoonists which was rare. Today there are multiple extremely talented women cartoonists in the field. I tried to use a diverse group of cartoonists from around the country. I was honored to be able to publish work by Smell of Steve, Inc by Brian Sendelbach (Seattle) and Bwana Spoons (Portland, OR).”

Onion Head Monster

Want to know more?

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Paul. Check it out!

Read the Interview

Much Life After HellCar Comix

Around this same time Paul’s work really exploded on a regional level, where paintings and commercial installations became a regular thing. It allowed Paul to focus solely on his creative efforts and the accompanying merchandise and promotion. With that have come a succession of unique projects culminating with co-authoring Man v. Liver with Neil Hinson. This effort could be his biggest commercial success so far now that it has been optioned as a live action series. Fingers crossed.

I came across a nice and lengthy article in Walter Magazine that covers some details and history of Paul during these recent activities. Friedrich enthusiasts should follow the link: http://www.waltermagazine.com/art_and_culture/paul-friedrich-finds-his-audience/

But while that pot boils Paul is back at it with more world building. Though Paul’s Sloth on the Run is an affectionate favorite, lately it’s been Sloppy Joe and his kid cast that have gotten Paul’s attention. While much of Paul’s work can be considered all ages, Sloppy Joe is perhaps his first to land solidly geared towards the kid’s market. Since he is just rolled out the series, so far I am just feeling pretty anxious about what happened to my socks, but keep up with him as he unfolds illustrations via various social media platforms.

So like I said, in some ways Paul’s creative history is like rolling stone gathering no moss. Though in other ways if you experience it first hand as it appears, you’ll get Paul as the enthusiastic showman that enjoys drawing you in to his new universe of art and entertainment.

Man v. Liver

Sloppy Joe

Learn More Stuff About Paul

For a guy that has an abundance of places you can visit online to experience his work, the who that is Paul Friedrich has been primarily left to being a mystery. In fact, if not for a recent Walter Magazine article, one could only assume he preferred it that way. But whether an oversight, stubbornness, or a clever marketing scheme, here’s a whole bunch of links to experience the full breadth of his online onslaught.

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