Zapparama

Rock'n'Roll Comics #32, Revolutionary Comics, August 1991
Biographical comics. There aren't that many of them. Autobiographical comics could cover every square inch of this planet like so much litter box liner, probably, but strictly biographical? Not so much. Here's where I wish I'd picked up that John Paul II comic back in the late 80s. It was on sale at the local Book Mart for what seemed like forever. Couldn't bring themselves to take it off the rack without risking an eternity in hell, I imagine. So Rock'n'Roll Comics will have to do. I only have one issue: the Frank Zappa bio.

Discovering Zappa, I find, is like participating in a chain letter. Someone turns you on to his music, usually when you're in college, and then you in turn do the same. Each adept is apparently responsible for the recruitment of one other adept, and so it goes*. Some like the early experimentation, some like the humor, some like the studio work, some only the guitar solos, others the later modern music. Me? I like the live stuff. But if there's one common thread in Zappa, it's the stories.

There are tons of funny and downright weird anecdotes about the man, many thrown into songs or onto the stage, so he's a particularly good subject for a comics bio. Fact and myth probably mix here, but it's nonetheless a well-researched piece. The writer isn't afraid of being stylish, with some narration being in "ballad" form (you could easily sing it to the tune of Joe's Garage, for example), which certainly makes a change from the infodumping you'd expect from a comic like this. The art is also stylish, though haphazard. Likenesses are well done, but some characters are barely more than cartoons. It's a little random. Here's a selection:
One thing you should know about me is that I hate drugs. I mean I fucking hate them. I don't take them, and I don't like to be around people who are high. There seems to be no real reason for my revulsion other than having grown up on comics where morality is rather black and white. By the time arcade machines were telling me to stay in school and not do drugs, I was already sold. (Plenty of other vices anyway. Booze rocks!!!)

Anywho, Zappa's attitude in the comic made me go a big "oh yeah, oh yeah, take that Pink Floyd!" (They once opened for Zappa's Mothers of Invention.)

Something else that's fun in this comic is the letters page where editor Todd Loren basically calls DC Comics chief and Legion of Super-Heroes guru Paul Levitz a wimp for not supporting First Amendment rights. Fun stuff, I guess inspired by the fact some artists were off-limits to the comic because Revolutionary didn't pay royalties for using their names. An interesting discussion that completes this package well considering Zappa's own role in First Amendment battles. Oh yeah, and there's a lame reader who wants Rock'n'Roll Comics to cover the New Kids on the BlockTM.
*My initiator was frequent commenter and schoolhood friend Doctor Mi.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

My parents had the John Paul II comic book, they might still have it. It's in French I believe.

Siskoid said...

I remember there were copies in both official languages.

I bet you could buy it around the world in every language.

 

Blog Archive

Category

5 Things to Like (21) Activities (23) Advice (74) Alien Nation (34) Aliens Say the Darndest Things (8) Alpha Flight (25) Amalgam (53) Ambush Bug (46) Animal Man (17) anime (53) Aquaman (71) Archetypes (14) Archie Heroes (10) Arrowed (20) Asterix (9) Atom (31) Avengers (59) Awards (33) Babylon 5 (140) Batman (680) Battle Shovel (13) Battlestar Galactica (134) Black Canary (22) BnB 2-in1 (40) Books (61) Booster Gold (16) Buck Rogers (20) Buffy (6) Canada (72) Captain America (69) Captain Marvel (57) Cat (156) CCGs (60) Charlton (12) Circles of Hell (6) Class (11) Comics (3990) Comics Code Approved (12) Conan (15) Contest (13) Cooking (15) Crisis (78) Daredevil (33) Dating Kara Zor-El (5) Dating Lois Lane (23) Dating Lucy Lane (13) Dating Princess Diana (11) DCAU (404) Deadman (9) Dial H (128) Dice (10) Dinosaur Island (16) Dinosaurs (67) Director Profiles (9) Doctor Who (1686) Doom Patrol (22) Down the Rabbit Hole (7) Dr. Strange (17) Encyclopedia (28) Fantastic Four (56) Fashion Nightmares (19) Fiasco (14) Films Within Films (6) Flash (87) Flushpoint (86) Foldees (12) French (49) Friday Night Fights (57) Fun with Covers (56) FW Team-Up (37) Galleries (9) Game design (26) Gaming (111) Geekly roundup (770) Geeks Anonymous (47) Geekwear (13) Gimme That Star Trek (61) Godzilla (53) Golden Age (441) Grant Morrison (75) Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction (8) Green Arrow (50) Green Lantern (87) Hawkman (40) Hero Points Podcast (13) Holidays (241) House of Mystery (16) Hulk (44) Human Target (8) Improv (34) Inspiration (45) Intersect (5) Invasion Podcast (44) Iron Man (50) Jack Kirby (87) Jimmy Olsen (74) JLA (97) JSA (26) K9 the Series (30) Kirby Motivationals (18) Krypto (202) Kung Fu (100) Learning to Fly (11) Legion (130) Letters pages (6) Liveblog (12) Lonely Hearts Podcast (21) Lord of the Rings (18) Machine Man Motivationals (10) Man-Thing (6) Marquee (89) Masters of the Universe (9) Memes (39) Memorable Moments (35) Metal Men (5) Metamorpho (65) Millennium (72) Mini-Comics (5) Monday Morning Macking (7) Movies (457) Mr. Terrific (6) Music (73) Nelvana of the Northern Lights (9) Nightmare Fuel (22) Number Ones (60) Obituaries (42) oHOTmu OR NOT? (80) Old52 (12) One Panel (301) Outsiders (167) Panels from Sheena (5) Paper Dolls (7) Play (77) Podcast (500) Polls (5) Questionable Fridays (13) Radio (16) Rants (20) Reaganocomics (8) Recollected (11) Red Bee (26) Red Tornado (10) Reign (563) Retro-Comics (3) Reviews (52) Rom (116) RPGs (540) Sandman (23) Sapphire & Steel (37) Sarah Jane Adventures (70) Saturday Morning Cartoons (5) SBG for Girls (4) Seasons of DWAITAS (100) Secret Origins Podcast (8) Secret Wars (25) SF (30) Shut Up Star Boy (1) Silver Age (371) Siskoid as Editor (35) Siskoid's Mailbox (10) Space 1999 (51) Spectre (21) Spider-Man (100) Spring Cleaning (15) ST non-fiction (19) ST novels: DS9 (8) ST novels: S.C.E. (19) ST novels: The Shat (2) ST novels: TNG (9) ST novels: TOS (13) Star Trek (1727) Streaky (2) Suicide Squad (39) Supergirl (90) Superman (1062) Supershill (11) Swamp Thing (24) Tales from Earth-Prime (7) Team Horrible (4) Teen Titans (85) That Franchise I Never Talk About (53) The Orville (29) The Prisoner (5) The Thing (54) Then and Now (4) Theory (51) Thor (52) Thursdays of Two Worlds (43) Time Capsule (8) Timeslip (7) Tintin (23) Torchwood (62) Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms (5) Toys (65) Turnarounds (7) TV (193) V (6) Waking Life (1) Warehouse 13 (9) Websites (102) What If? (103) Who's This? (212) Whoniverse-B (11) Wikileaked (3) Wonder Woman (84) X-Files (246) X-Men (103) Zero Hour Strikes (27) Zine (5)