COVER STORIES for 10/30/2005
COVER STORIES INSTALLMENT #25
Welcome to this 25th edition of "Cover Stories," in which I look at a number of comics covers with a common theme!
And you know what? It's time for another edition of "Comics They Never Made!"
Today, I present two more rock and roll comic books... books that it's probably just as well they never made, eh?
After Dell lost the Beatles license to Gold Key (see earlier posts), they went looking for a replacement British band to star in a comic book, and they ended up having a choice of Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Dave Clark Five, or the Rolling Stones. Since the Stones were the Beatles' biggest musical rivals, they figured they couldn't go wrong with them!
So, this book came to be. Trying to break away from the formula of musical performers becoming amateur detectives and solving mysteries, they went for a bit of a different approach with the Rolling Stones...
They made them merry pranksters, bringing laughter wherever they went!
Sounds bizarre? You should see the interior pages! The book starts out with Mick, Keith, and the rest of the band hanging around their flat, when Mick says he's bored. Keith suggests it's time they do their prankster bit again, and the band is all for it! So, they head out with mischief in mind! Before long, they're at a store buying various colors of paint, which they use to paint messages wherever they can (at one point, they even paint the message "I Hate Ringo" on the back of a bobby's jacket... then they decide the guard at Buckingham Palace are just too boring in black and red, and paint the guard's uniforms a mélange of different colors - the guard, of course, never move). Bored with painting, they then decide to do an impromptu street circus, with Mick as ringmaster! A crowd gathers around them as they do mock circus stunts and the like, until Brian accidentally drops a few Indian pins he was juggling, and one of them breaks a windshield of what appears to be a Mini parked on the street. Keith tosses a wad of bills through the hole to pay for the repair job, and they move on.
The Stones' next stop is at an opera house, where it appears Wagner's "Ring" cycle is being performed... they get backstage, and distract some of the performers long enough to don outfits and take over... you wouldn't believe Keith dressed up as Brunhilde unless you saw it! They basically make a shambles of the whole opera, but the crowd goes wild at the end of their performance, calling it the most exciting opera they've ever seen!
Well, after all this (and a few mini-pranks between them all), the guys aren't bored any longer, they're just tired... they arrive back at their flat, only to receive a phone call from their manager, asking why they haven't showed up at their concert yet! The book closes as the Stones load up in their car with their instruments, and speed on their way.
Someone at Gold Key must've figured it was a good idea... like the Frank Zappa book, and their later David Bowie book... and so, the Doors became the stars of their own comic book!
Whoever wrote this comic had at least some idea of what the band was like... because the book was all about Jim and the rest of the band exploring reality via the Doors of Perception (okay, that part was pretty out there, even for the Doors... in the comic, the shared beach house they live in has a hallway lined with differently-decorated doors, and these are the Doors of Perception the band named themselves after. When they walk through a door, they're taken on a twisted ride through reality and unreality, where things are very different than in the real world.
For example... the first door they go through takes them to a world where war is fought with beanbags. Nobody gets killed, naturally... and everyone has to stand real close to the enemy to throw beanbags at them. Throwing these beanbags back and forth eventually makes everyone feel groovy and happy, and so they declare peace... until the next war happens, and all the wars are caused by agents of the man who makes the beanbags!
The next door takes them to a world where in is out, and out is in! OK, I'll explain that more... outside, where you'd expect to find trees and grass and animals, is all decorated like it was inside, with carpets and flooring and chairs and furniture and so on. Houses and other buildings, when you enter them, are filled with grass and trees and animals and so forth! The weather doesn't change, though, so the people living outside get rained on, while the animals and so forth don't.
The third door they go through puts them into a world where nothing makes the kind of sound you expect it... a guitar sounds like a fog horn, a dog meows, starting up a car engine sounds like someone sneezing, etc.
They enter two more doors before the end of the comic - the first of these takes them to a world where children and teenagers are the authority figures, and the adults have to follow the rules or they don't get any dessert, while the second one gets really, really freaky! They go to a world where nothing stays the same color for more than a few seconds, and everything changes size when the color changes (I think there may be some correlation between size and color, but it's hard to tell).
Apparently, this first and only issue kind of embarrassed Morrison quite a bit, but then he got over it and had a good laugh about it.
Okay, friends, it's back to reality... and remember, if you see someone listing either of these comics on eBay... don't bid... they don't exist in our world!
But don't worry, there will always be "Comics They Never Made" in future installments... and with that in mind, I'm issuing a challenge to the readers of this column... have you created a "Comic They Never Made" yourself? Or maybe you've created your own parody cover, akin to what they used to run way back in Amazing Heroes? If you have... let me know! Send me your jpeg file, along with whatever you've written about what the contents would've been... the jpeg should be at least 72 dpi, and about 7.4 by 10 inches. You'll be duly credited here, of course, if I use your cover and text! In fact, I'll even up the ante a bit...send me your mailing address with your entry, and if I use your cover, I'll mail you, absolutely free of charge, a high-quality print of one of my own "Comics They Never Made" covers, printed on photo-quality paper, and suitable for framing! (Hmmm... is that going to be a real incentive to participate in this?) Just let me know which of the covers I've posted so far you'd like to get. I'll run the submitted covers in future columns!
Join me next time for another installment of "Cover Stories," and in the meantime, you can check out my blog at http://waffyjon.blogspot.com for other musings and ramblings by me, or email me with comments about this column at !