Creator, artist, and the romantic visionary behind Stroke of Genius and Cum Lung, Aaron Manczyk lives more like an action movie star than a typical cartoonist. His approach to the medium draws in equal measure on the bullheaded vulgarity of Johnny Ryan and the atavistic braggadocio of Benjamin Marra, but Aaron (who has been writer and star of the Youtube sitcom Living with Friends for more than 4 years now,) also navigates the realm of performance with the same arrogant panache. He launched his newest book PANTHOR with The Beguiling: An ultra-violent prison break by the deadliest mercenary ever to have lived. Throughout his storied career Mancyk has blurred the line between autobiography and autoeroticism, and last week’s PANTHOR launch was no exception.
Manczyk inserted himself into the tight-packed room during his personal anthem, “Rock You Like A Hurricane.” As a thick cloud of smoke filled the bar, he made his entrance wearing nothing but a towel, sunglasses and the stout musk of his own arousal. Squirting whipped cream into the mouths of his giddy audience and topping them off with heart shaped sprinkles hidden somewhere on his person, Manczyk strutted and flexed his way to the stage. Such was the level of frenzy, Manczyk felt it necessary to repeat his entrance three times before sitting down, only to have the song start up again so he could walk the room once more, shaking hands, kissing babies and pointing at himself.
The interview, eventually, at last, revolved mostly around Manczyk’s personal life, philosophy, sexual history and feats of incredible human strength. Cut-off mid-sentence during one of his anecdotes of poignant masculinity, an unruly audience member accused Manczyk of fraud. Controversy ensued as another unwelcome obtruder raised doubts about the authenticity of Manczyk’s claims. Though Manczyk stuck to his guns, a lingering mystique was cast over the night. Is Panthor truly a creation of Manczyk’s own, or is he, as claimed by others, a real-life story lifted from an old article in Soldier of Fortune? Further compounding the enigma, evidence emerged that both could be true: maybe Panthor is a real mercenary, but perhaps Aaron Manczyk himself is that very man. Surely he’s man enough, mean enough, and shares a similar proclivity for nakedness… but we’ll never know. People came out that night expecting some tough guy business and even some sexy time business. No one anticipated a genuine mystery, but Manczyk and PANTHOR and The Beguiling make a habit of exceeding expectations.
There followed 3 competitions, putting to test the pillars of Manczyk’s personal credo: Romance, Fortitude and Aritstry. A kissing contest. An arm wrestling match. An improvisational haiku showdown. Manczyk challenged his flock and they responded with style. Competition was stiff but all 3 challengers were happy to win their free copies of PANTHOR, which Manczyk then tore in half after signing.
I could go on, but there is no amount of reportage that can change one basic fact: Either your life was permanently changed for the better or you missed the whole damn thing and you’re consumed with remorse. But don’t worry! PANTHOR will return and Manczyk and his pals at The Beguiling will be on hand and in person to bring you another amazing evening. Come check out PANTHOR #1, available now at The Beguiling and keep an eye on our events listing for the ineffable, inevitable, irresistible return of PANTHOR to the stage some day soon.