Friday, December 31, 2010

Poor Lisa

Another chapter from Afterschool Special. This one was written in Florida and drawn in Arizona.

These sequences where a character walks around alone at night are closest to my heart. King Kullen is an actual Long Island supermarket chain and I worked as a supermarket check-out boy when I was 18. The people who work at supermarkets always seem sad to me. I used to love to frequent supermarkets late at night though. On Long Island, most of them were open 24 hours and there was something romantic about the muzak and the neon lightning. I'd often fill up carts only to leave them abandoned, a delinquent trick I picked up after reading Robert Cormier's famous YA novel I Am The Cheese.

The magazine covers are based on news items I remember vividly from when I was in High School. I loved Punky Brewster but then hearing about Soleil Moon Frye's surgery in People magazine was kind of an inappropriate surprise. Sometimes I wish celebrities lives could be kept more private. I also recall watching OJ's Bronco chase live on TV more vividly than tv images of the Gulf War. We live in a world of bizarre media influences. They're unavoidable.

I've always had a thing for roller rinks, drive-ins and arcades because I had fond memories of visiting them as a kid and they all quickly seemed to disappear as I grew up. I've often thought of writing a story that takes place in a roller rink and have attempted it several times. But then I got the CD of The Rink with Liza Minnelli (probably Kander & Ebb's greatest flop) and thought that that said it better than I could. I love that musical and hope to create something equally powerful within my lifetime.

Rollerskating rinks play another important part in my personal history. Once on a date at one in New Jersey, I slipped and broke my leg. The break was so bad, that I couldn't stand up. The DJ had to announce to everyone to clear the floor. For five minutes kids yelled "PUSSY" at me while I waited for an ambulance to arrive.

And for the record, YES, I do love the Golden Girls. I think it's one of the funniest tv series ever made and it always cheers me up no matter how down and out I'm feeling.

Some other notes:

The Skate Rink logo that I have used here and in several of my other books is based on the logo from the Roger Corman produced B-movie about a Roller Derby team called Unholy Rollers. Not a great film by any means, but worth checking out because of an appearance by one of my favorite character actors Dick Miller. And I think it was also one of the first things Martin Scorsese ever worked on (as an editor?).

The color illusrtation at top is based on this photograph I took (below) at a roller rink in Tucson, Arizona that still looks like something out of the 1980's.

Picture above of a teenage Soleil Moon Frye is an example of a magazine that Lisa would be reading at the supermarket in this story.

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