The Molotov Comix story begins in an 1893 Minnesota farmhouse in the hunting and gathering community of Dismal (today, renamed Mallsdale). Russian immigrant and failed craisin farmer Zebulon Molotov was ridiculed by townsfolk for being a "reader," an epithet back in the days when reading was still new and considered elitist. The town, with no newspapers, got its news from seven competing town criers. These criers were eventually bought out and consolidated by a multinational town crier chain out east, which replaced the morning hog reports with titillating scandal. Molotov felt that he, as a "reader," had a calling to start his own newspaper and keep his fellow citizens informed. He would give them quality reporting, and show them there was little to fear from reading.
But no issues of The Dismal Observer were to ever be printed.
Molotov the literacy crusader died in a bizarre footwear accident
before he could realize his dream; he was found with two pair of socks
stuffed down his throat. The townspeople blamed the death on reading,
and burned the farmhouse down, to prevent any further sock deaths. (No
Our tale may have ended there if not for
Zebulon's son, Ignatius "Li'l Zeb" Molotov, whose earliest childhood
memory was seeing the devastation in his father's face as the farmhouse
burned to the ground.
On the fire's 25th anniversary, he returned, after
a dream in which the farmhouse was dive-bombed by giant flaming crows.
As it burned to the ground, people in the dream amassed from miles
around in joyful hopes of a rising phoenix.
"My father was a
revolutionary," Li'l Zeb wrote in his unpublished memoirs, Outlaw
Publisher: Why the Town Crier Lobby Had My Father Killed. "I will
follow his dream of covering municipal sewer bonding referenda and
school board races, no matter the costs to my personal safety." He
rebuilt the small farmhouse exactly as it was, which meant he still
wouldn't be able to fit a printing press inside.
matter. In a cruel joke of history, the restored shanty was dive-bombed
by giant flaming crows, and burned to the ground. The second fire
convinced Li'l Zeb that he was destined to suffer the same fate as his
father, and he immediately stopped wearing socks. Friends noticed an
increasing paranoia, as the brooding junior Molotov sank his time into
"proving" President McKinley had been assassinated by Freemasons and
town criers. Li'l Zeb died in a freak disembowelment accident, and the
McKinley manuscript mysteriously disappeared.
At this point,
Molotov Publishing Haus was as famous for not publishing as it was for
publishing. Not wanting to dishonor her relatives' memory, Zebulon's
niece, Zebulina, ran the company for the next 47 years, without
publishing a single word.
Upon her death (in an unexplained
hunting accident, she fell into a large vat of acid), control of the
business went to her Welsh Corgi, as stated in her will. Strangely, it
was under the dog's management that a book was finally published. But
the achievement was short and bittersweet, as all 250 copies of Cooking
with Tubers were confiscated in a botched FBI sting that left two dead.
the latter sixties, it became increasingly apparent that the dog was
not running the company. Molotov was rudderless. It was noticed that
the venerable name had morphed into The Magic Butterfly Sky Pony Ride
and Free Love Clinic, although no one could recall when or why. Some
felt the company was getting away from its original mission.
in 1972, Li'l Zeb's phoenix finally rose. Molotov-Magic Pony LLC's
scholastic wing (Molotov Butterfly) released Creative Mathematics: 2
and 2 Can Be 5 If You Let It. It made a minor splash, although some
East Coast math "intellectuals" tried to smear its scholarship (a lot
of their arguments were exposed as nothing more than numbers). The book
is out of print due to fascist academic censorship. Still, Molotov had
published a book at long last, and the board figured it could finally
coast for a while.