Thee Almighty & Insane: Chicago Business Cards from the 1960s & 1970s


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96 pp.

Thee Almighty & Insane: Chicago Gang Business Cards from the 1970s & 1980s by Brandon Johnson 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+ original and reprint 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.