Delving back into the strange, mysterious prehistory of Rockin' Bones with this first installment. These two stories were done before I ever thought of doing a whole comic of my own. For years I was stuck in the "drawing in the margins of my high school notebooks" phase of aristic development but about a year before drawing these stories I finally started trying to get my work onto a more professional level, drawing with proper brushes and ink on decent paper at the 10x15" size used by the pro publishers. I was mostly trying to get used to the size and tools and actually producing complete, finished stories at this point, so I tended to indulge my personal interests which, then as now, were wild rock'n'roll, B- and Z-grade monster/teen/exploitation movies and pre-code comics.
"Rock'n'Roll Confidential" was a takeoff on the sort of lurid, shocking exposé that made Confidential Magazine a big hit in the '50s, with a side order of Dr. Frederic Wertham thrown in to spice things up. I don't think the term "moral panic" existed in the 1950s but the reaction of adult society to early rock'n'roll falls pretty neatly into that category and is what I was trying to satirize in this story.
"Rockabilly Werewolf" is a straight EC horror knockoff complete with embarrassing twist ending and ridiculous, punning horror host commentary. Mostly it was an excuse to draw the 1950s imagery I was obsessing over back then: cars, fashions, hairstyles and such. I think in a weird way I was trying to prepare myself to go and work for EC Comics, the fact that the EC horror comics had been driven out of existence 40 years before notwithstanding. Kids, go figure 'em.
I was contributing art to various underground rock'n'roll fanzines in those days and both of these stories saw print via the zine route before Rockin' Bones was conceived. "Werewolf" appeared in my late pal Alan Wright's garage rock zine Cryptic Tymes and "Confidential" was in Blue Cat Comics and Stories, a rock-themed comic book which was the last product of cool Canadian garage/rockabilly/trash record label Og Records (which had just changed its name to Blue Cat Records and promptly went out of business with only this one oddball comic book to its credit). Thanks to those publishers and to Ken Eppstein for disinterring this archaic, forgotten stuff from its unmarked and unmourned grave.
More to come next month so stay tooned.
Editor's Note: This week, 10% off all comics, records and art related to Darren Merinuk with coupon code "Merinuk" This Week!