Thursday, November 9, 2017

Prince Street News: Comic and Cartoon Characters' Favorite Musical Artists (complete)

The new BACK ISSUE! spotlights rock & roll comics of the Bronze Age, featuring pieces on Alice Cooper, KISS (many, many articles about KISS), Flash Gordon, Paul McCartney, and much more. Finally, with this issue's theme, I was able to bring a new installment of what might be my signature piece to PRINCE STREET NEWS.

The first installment of  “Comic Characters’ Favorite Musical Artists” appeared in Warner Bros. Records’ promotional faux-zine, DIRT in the 1990s (wherein I contributed a monthly comic strip called THE RETAIL ADVENTURES OF KALLI & REX about the joys and travails of running an independent record store… remember those?). The concept’s next appearance was in my online strip, YOU DON'T LIKE ANYTHING! (which also appeared in the music magazine, THE BIG TAKEOVER). From 1999 through the first decade of the new millennium, I added more installments of the series, which eventually went viral in 2011, aggregated by dozens of websites including CBR, Buzzfeed, and Flavorwire (to name a few). 

Ever since I started doing PRINCE STREET NEWS for BACK ISSUE! that same year, I’ve been hoping to bring the concept to these pages. Finally, with this rock & roll comics issue, the format fit.

But as I set to writing the strip, I realized something: Every other installment of CCFMA was aimed mostly at a music fan audience; the bands chosen could be obscure, but the characters expressing their affection had to be known by the general public (for the most part). This time around, I had to take the opposite tack: Since I was doing this for BACK ISSUE! readers, the characters could be more obscure, but the musical preferences needed to be (again, for the most part) more mainstream. 

Still, not everyone will get every joke. That’s inevitable. Few will recognize every single artist mentioned. And the reasons for the pairing are all over the map. Some are obvious, groan-inducing puns (e.g., Mysterio, Hawkman). Some are due to iconic songs that could relate to the character (e.g., Thor, Underdog). Some are jokes that you might need to think about—or even do some Googling—to get (e.g., The Crypt Keeper, Little Dot). And some are actually chosen because, well, they make sense (Foghorn Leghorn, Hawk & Dove). My hope is that (in true music industry form) the 35 gags herein yield more hits than misses.

For this fifth installment, all the characters are new to the series, but I had to reuse one band from an earlier strip because it fit the new character so much better than its original champion (I won’t tell you which band, but in the old strip, they were loved by Space Ghost). 

For this post, I've included the previous four installments of CCFMA, combined into two bigger pieces, with some updated jokes and a few redrawn panels. I'm not going to explain each and every joke (part of the fun is trying to figure them out), but if there's something you don't get that's driving you nuts, feel free to ask me in the comments. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Prince Street News: Bronze Baby!

BACK ISSUE! hits its 100th issue with a special giant sized look at comic book fandom in the Bronze Age, and man, does it pack a nostalgic wallop for those of us who relied on fanzines like THE COMIC READER, THE COMICS BUYERS GUIDE, FOOM, and THE AMAZING WORLD OF DC COMICS for news of upcoming books way back yonder in those pre-Internet days.

For the issue, I did a "special" installment of Prince Street News, a 43-panel overview of a mere sampling of the vast goodness that spewed forth from the squeaky spinner racks of the 1970s and '80s. Hardcore fanboys of a certain age may well be able to identify every reference (mostly comic book covers), but hopefully those of you who never had the experience of bugging your parents for spare pocket change to forage some action / adventure / humor / chills / et al at the drugstore can still get a sense of the wonder those days incurred.

NEXT ISSUE: It's the return of a theme that once went viral on this here Internet! Installment FIVE of COMIC CHARACTERS' FAVORITE MUSICAL ARTISTS (and I'll be posting it with all the other strips, including some updated / altered selections, so it'll be the definitive version)...

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Barcade Boards IV

Hey, here's another batch of random chalkboard scrawlings done over the past few years at various Barcade locations (two of which I also sling drinks for a living)... I'll get to do this again soon as they/we open the seventh location in downtown Newark NJ (where I also happen to live, so this will be a quick commute). The photo at the top is me doing my most frequent update, redoing the draft list in Jersey City (my primary location). Also, there's an embarrassing typo in one of the photos, in which I screw up our slogan, "The Original Arcade Bar" by adding the company's "B" in front of "Arcade," making it kind of superfluous. I later fixed it.  There are a few repeated themes in this gallery from the previous three, but heck, it's been a while, you probably don't remember.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Prince Street News: Of Cape and Cowl

BACK ISSUE! #95 spotlights "Creatures of the Night" with features on Moon Knight (a character whose relative worth was a source of battle between me and my pal Billy Alpha), Ghost Rider, Eclipso, Night Nurse (really!), I... Vampire!, and, of course, the Batman. Rather than do a PSN about Night Nurse, I opted to delve into Batman's costume evolution over the years. In dealing with the Caped Crusader's live action adaptations, there was way too much detail to do the drawings in the allotted space on the ol' bristol, so I drew them all large and placed them in the strip. And, MAN, are those modern movie costumes ridiculously detailed! LESS IS MORE, I always say, and not just because they're a pain in the butt to draw! I mean, relative realism is one of the things that makes Batman attractive, but c'mon, Lucius / Alfred / whoever's responsible in any given version... he ain't Iron Man!

Anyway. Up next in BACK ISSUE! #98, I tackle the thorny topic of comic book continuity... see ya then.