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Thee Almighty & Insane Chicago Gang Business Cards from the 1970s & 1980s
Published by Almighty & Insane
5.5"x8.25", 96p, blue hardcover cover, color inside
Updated 2023 edition!
After many requests over the years, it’s back! This new edition once again includes a selection of Chicago gang compliment cards but with a handful of swap outs from the original, and is now ordered geographically (more or less) winding from south to north to reflect both the fundamental link of these organizations with physical locations and their interactions with others nearby. The essay has also been updated to reflect new information and perspectives introduced since the last edition was published.
Thee Almighty & Insane: Chicago Gang Business Cards from the 1970s & 1980s is an ode to an idiosyncratic print subculture that arose in Chicago just prior to the digital age when street gangs made business cards displaying their symbols, nicknames, territories, and enemies as a means to assert their pride, recruit new members, and serve as general tokens of affiliation. Less intended, but maybe more significant is the role of these cards as historical artifacts??"not only documenting the specific histories of these gangs and their members, but also the larger social dynamics of a contentious time period in the city of Chicago. With enlarged reproductions of 70+ cards and an introductory essay by collector Brandon Johnson, this book is an appreciation of Chicago gang “compliment cards”: their hand-drawn graphics, their blackletter typefaces, their outlandish names and clever slogans.
Brandon Johnson, Managing Editor of zingmagazine and originally from the Chicagoland area, started collecting these cards after discovering one of the cards in a cigar box in his dad's attic (his friend was a member of one of the gangs). “Old English” fonts, hand-drawn graphics, everything you want them to be. -LM
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