Bob McPhail 6 a.m., May 23
I got a letter from Charles Manson in prison.....
I once got this letter from Charles Manson, addressed to my company Re-Visionary Press, which at the time published Carnal Comics: True Stories of Adult Film Stars. All it contained was the signed index card with the word “POWER” written on it.
My first thought was that perhaps he knew I’d written an issue of a comic called Psycho Killers, with illustrated bios of famous murderers. (Not as sordid and exploitative a comic as you might think - my stories only covered their lives up until just before their first murder, in an attempt to examine what MAKES a person into a killer).
THEN I wondered if it had to do with my frequent visits to see my friend Sage at the C.I.W. women’s prison where Manson family members Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Leslie Van Houten had often interacted with us in the visit room.
(I used to grimly joke to friends that, when eating lunch across the table from Susan Atkins, who allegedly tried to cut Sharon Tate’s unborn baby from her belly, I refused to pass her the ketchup…)
The biggest mystery, tho, is “What was Manson trying to TELL me??” Was he SHOWING me his “POWER”? Like some kind of threat?
Or was he somehow SHARING his power with me?? What about the fact that he addressed the message to Carnal Comics’ publisher, not to me personally? Was (is?) he simply a fan of porn star bio comics??? Was he just trying to swap some of his “power” for a few free comic books???
Lord knows we got a lot of letters from prisoners seeking our free catalog, loaded with porn star photos that must’ve been prime “stroke” material behind bars ---
I never wrote back (would YOU??) – so guess I’ll never know….