Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Last DJ on Earth

Created in the Spring of 1981, when I was seventeen, The Last DJ On Earth, billed on its cover as “The First-Ever Rock-Musical-Fantasy Comic Never Published!”, is one of my first fully-realized multi-page comics, featuring early attempts at traditional cartoon lettering and creating ruled panels and borders. The drawings were, in places, lightly indicated with pencil before being embellished with a fine-point felt-tip marker. The story and dialogue, as with my later comics, was created panel-by-panel, but hesitancy with the form led to a less off-the-cuff approach than that which informed later full-form efforts such as Bonus Comics #57 and the Jazz Scarecrow. Created on the heels of the summer-long run of my very first published cartooning, a comic strip entitled Flip Rhodun, which ran daily in the local paper, The Last DJ was an outgrowth of plot and characters meant for a second forty-week story arc in the daily strip and a continuation of that feature’s “big-nosed” style. It is essentially a tribute to my favorite musical group, The Beatles, notably many of the cartoony characters in their Abbey Road swansong, and an obvious nod to the animated film The Yellow Submarine. I was also heavily under the spell of George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass and Thirty Three & 1/3, whose popular single, Crackerbox Palace, led to the creation of the story’s Crackerjack Palace. The original art appears on standard letter-sized pieces of copy paper. My father kindly agreed to duplicate about half a dozen copies on the office copy machine at the factory where he worked. I believe these may have been distributed to family, and perhaps one or two friends. I still have in my possession one of the stapled copies.
Encouraged by having accomplished this early undertaking, I proceeded to begin a sequel, featuring characters based on Jefferson Airplane (Aeroplane Jefferson) and The Rolling Stones (The Rolling Bones), but the project was put aside after I’d created only three pages, which are included here as a postscript.