Rev. Ivan Stang may have been born Ivan Romanov Rasputin Stankovich in St. Maarten, Dutch West Indies, in 1951, or perhaps not, although his parents shortly immigrated to Texas where he was raised in a Ft. Worth suburb.
He is credited with founding the Church of the SubGenius in 1979, though Stang himself denies this and claims the organization was founded in 1953 by J. R. “Bob” Dobbs.
“Even as a child I was obsessed with four things,” he said in a David Letterman interview. “Monster movies, strange girls, a crude concept of pure physical Slack, and an unrelenting disinterest in everything normal. “Bob” Dobbs' Church of the SubGenius seemed to me to offer the perfect combination of all three.”
Before being recruited by J.R. “Bob” Dobbs and Dr. Philo Drummond to run the Church public outreach, Stang worked as a film editor (on “business films,” he insists) and part-time claymation animator, garnering awards, debts and public condemnation for his early “underground” 16mm films. What qualified him as Church Scribe, however, was not his communication expertise but his large collection of kook literature, which impressed Dobbs.
Stang has ramrodded to completion five books: The Book of the SubGenius, High Weirdness by Mail (an overview of rival cults for which Stang received a degree in crackpotology), Three Fisted Tales of “Bob” and Revelation X – The “Bob” Apocryphon, all for Simon & Schuster and The SubGenius Psychclopaedia of Slack – THE BOBLIOGRAPHON, for Thunder's Mouth. In the multimedia arena, Stang produced ARISE, The SubGenius Video (dist. by Polygram), a “SubGenius commercial” for MTV, numerous noncommercial SubGenius videos, and, to date, over 1300 episodes of the ongoing SubGenius radio extravaganza, The Hour of Slack (heard on a number of broadcast stations and uncounted pirate and Internet ones).
Stang claims he owes everything, including a second mortgage on his house, to “Bob” - and also to the hundreds of SubGenius collaborators. But more than anything else, however, Stang attributes the incredible tenacity of the Church of the SubGenius to the efforts of the thousands of anonymous lone SubGeniuses, howling lonely and alone in the wilderness, each and every one of them taking another chink out of the brick wall of the Conspiracy of the Normals, dismantling it piece by piece, each in their own inscrutable and untraceable ways.