Stalking Ralph(1995)
Overview


Stalking Ralph is a graphic novel which Matt Howarth started working on in 1980 with his friend, Heavy Metal music columnist Lou Stathis. The two were great fans of The Residents - in fact, Howarth had illustrated a review of The Residents Stathis wrote for the April 1980 issue of Heavy Metal. Stalking Ralph was started four years before Howarth and Stathis's best-known collaboration, the first four issues of Those Annoying Post Bros., and was developed throughout the 80s. It was originally meant to be published back then - there's even an ad for this "upcoming" book in an issue of The Comix of Two Cities - but it was not completed until the late 80s. Howarth added an epilogue in 1994 and the book was published in 1995.

In Stalking Ralph Howarth's best-known characters, the interdimensional assassins Ron & Russ Post, are hired by "the old man" (a former crooner with underworld connections) to unmask and kill The Residents. They have to contend with all of the band's costumed incarnations and sonic wizardry, doing rather poorly against the mysterious quartet. The book is full of references, subtle and overt, to various elements of Residential history and makes extensive use of Residential publicity photos as sources of images. The Residents appear in all of their costumes, but the ones used most often are the box-headed figures from the The Residents at Mount Rushmore poster. These outfits were only ever used once by the band, shortly after the 13th Anniversary Show tour, but at the time Howarth and Stathis thought that they might become permanent (or semi-permanent) replacements for the Eyeballs, since one of the heads had been stolen during the tour (Stalking Ralph sheds some light on the fate of the missing Eyeball).