Lets Drink the Kool-Aid! (Book Review)

Manson Family Picnic
Text by R. Downey & Garth Powell
illustrated by R. Downey
Santa Rosa, CA: Playroom Press, 1997
44pp comic book

This is a strange little comic book with a drawing of a Kool-Aid pitcher with a happy face drawn on it, smiling at the invasion of picnic ants which dot the front cover. The same cover also promises the reader a forward by Vincent Bugliosi and an afterward by Charles Manson.

The main theme of this text is to discover how “to live in the now.” This is a key idea of the Manson circle. To do this, the authors follows Ricky Bear Cub as he quits his job dumping trash into the ocean and his quest to live in the Crabtree Woods with a commune of animals (sort of like South Parks satanic woodland creatures without the explicit violence) called the “Family of Infinite Soul, Inc.” This family is lead by folk singer named Charlie. Along the way he has some typical 60’s adventures such as dropping acid, hitchhiking, and hanging out with the Black Panthers (who are represented by bears who trash a campground). A lot of the dialogue involved showing off various 60’s cultural trivia.

The authors apparently sent Bug and Charlie a draft copy and both responded. Bug wrote back, “I can’t comment on what you sent me because it doesn’t appear to be a book and I really don’t understand what you sent me. But I wish you the best with whatever it is.” Charlie’s handwritten letter is reproduced as sent and ends with this quote: “John John the pipers son, stole a pig and away he run—dot your eyes and cross your tees and how else could one learn about the one.”

Over all, if you’re a collector of Manson books then this text should be in your collection. Your not going to learn anything new but it’s a fun read especially if you drunk the Kool-aide or taken more than one tab.

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