Friday, March 18, 2011

They call her EASY

This is the chapter where I have two characters walking around and talking. This could be really boring, visually, in comics and something I try to avoid: "Talking Heads". In order to make it more interesting, I tried to give this a sense of place. I actually used the High School near where I lived in Arlington, MA as a reference as well as my friend Lara's neighborhood, Winchester. Ultimately though, this is supposed to reflect my own Long Island High School that I attended in the mid 1990's as well as the neighborhood I grew up in (Plainview). Each of these chapters has references to my own personal obsessions. In the case of this chapter, it's one of my favorite books entitled Is Kissing A Girl Who Smokes Like Licking an Ashtray, published in 1992. I used the name Biff because it's the name of the main character in Randy's novel. Also, I made him a handball player because in Powell's novel, Biff always carries around a super bouncer ball.

The tile of this chapter, They Call Her Easy, is a song I like that Rex Smith sings on his first album. Rex Smith was the star of one of the best teen made-for-tv movies ever: Sooner or Later. This film by Bruce and Carole Hart was also a young adult book series with two sequels (novels only) written by the same authors.

The color cover here is a reference to the best 80's teen slasher pic: Slumber Party Massacre 2, which I've written a bit about here.

Are You In The House Alone?

This is my tribute to 80's slasher movie set-ups that have been used over and over again. It's The Babysitter who gets a phone call from "a breather". In this case, it's an in-joke between the two characters to show that they immediately get each other. The movie stills on the tv screen are from Slumber Party Massacre 1 and 2. Both are movies that I enjoy, although I do admit to being a lot more obsessed with the latter. I think the "driller killer" interest started after seeing De Palma's Body Double on late night tv when I was a kid. It's a ridiculous effect and was used often in the 80's, but exaggerated to absurdity and great effect in SPM 2.

The house that the babysitter inhabits was based on an apartment I was living in at the time in Jamaica Plain, MA. I photographed my girlfriend and used those pictures as reference to give this sequence a more cinematic horror movie, predatory/voyeuristic feel with various angles that I have not previously used in the creation of my comics.

We live in a nostalgic culture now, where there are few original works and we are constantly referencing things from the past. I don't always like that, but I'm not sure if it can be helped at this point. The writer I admire who uses this brilliantly is Kevin Williamson. I was a fan of his TV show Dawson's Creek and later his movies including the SCREAM series which was his own witty and always timely commentary on the slasher movie genre.

The title of this chapter is also a reference to the book by Richard Peck that was made into a made-for-tv movie starring Kathleen Beller and Robin Mattson.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Balls To The Wall

The song referenced here is Balls To The Wall by Accept which I often heard on MTV while growing up and the lyrics puzzled me as a kid. Later I learned that these hard-hitting metal lines were not written by any of the band members, but by their producer, who happened to be a woman. I love this sort of back handed unexpected feminism, probably the same reason I am such a fan of Deborah Brocks's Slumber Party Massacre movie.

This sequence comes from memories of three friends I had while I was in 9th grade. The first friend's mom smoked pot in the living room and his stepfather threw his stereo out the window. The second friend and I once chucked some tennis balls stolen from a public court at a security guard while perched atop a warehouse. And the third friend sprayed graffiti all over his neighborhood leading up to his house. I always knew how to get there on my bike without using a map. So that's where this comes from.

...this story continues here.