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Father Of The Brood

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UNFINISHED AND ABANDONED: The Comic Book Telephone Pitches, Part 2

YOU REMEMBER LAST TIME, when I talked about my aborted telephone pitch to write for Harvey Comics. Let’s pick up that story with my second and final attempt to sell my writing via a phone call to a comics publisher….

Revolutionary Comics was a comics publisher begun in 1989 by Todd Loren, commencing with its first (and initially only) series Rock ‘n’ Roll Comics. Each issue of Rock ‘n’ Roll Comics was an unauthorized biography of a rock or pop performer, beginning with Guns N’ Roses in Rock ‘n’ Roll Comics # 1. Eventually billing itself as “unauthorized and proud of it,” Rock ‘n’ Roll Comics survived attempted lawsuits and continued to cover acts ranging from New Kids On The Block to The Sex Pistols.

Rock ‘n’ roll. Comic books. Well! I figured I could write that!

It was probably 1990 or ’91 (no later) when I called Todd Loren to pitch him on the idea of humble li’l me writing for Rock ‘n’ Roll Comics. My writing resumé was a tiny bit fatter than it had been when I pitched to Harvey Comics a few years before, and while it still didn’t include any fiction sales, it did include nonfiction rock writing. And I knew just the band I would most want to cover in Rock ‘n’ Roll Comics. I’m sure you know it, too.

The Monkees.

Loren was not interested in that.

This was a few years after the MTV-fed resurgent Monkeemania of 1986. By the dawn of the ’90s, most folks figured that The Monkees had fully used up their fifteen minutes of fame, and then used it up again, with little likelihood of a third quarter-hour looming. I knew better, at least on an artistic level. I believed that The Monkees’ recorded and pop cultural legacies were underrated, and well deserving of examination and exploration. On those grounds, The Monkees would have been ideal candidates for study in an issue of Rock ‘n’ Roll Comics.

But on a commercial level, in the early ’90s? I have to concede that Loren was probably correct in his decision to pass on the idea. It would have sold in 1986 or ’87; it was, at best, an uncertain prospect in 1990 or ’91. 

With the pitch shot down, I never did any work on the idea of a comic-book biography of The Monkees. If I had been able to do it, I would have wanted it to read in a more compelling manner than the actual issues of Rock ‘n’ Roll Comics I’d seen up to that point. My ability to pull off such an ambition is in question, but I would have hoped to tell the story in a way that somehow incorporated the quick cuts and absurdity of the TV series and recreated them on the printed page, to convey the notion that The Monkees were more than a mere prefab four, that The Monkees were important, that The Monkees mattered.

Loren was a bit more open to my secondary idea of a comic-book biography of The Ramones, but not interested enough to commit to it. We parted amicably, but there was clearly no path there for me to get work with Revolutionary Comics.

Todd Loren

Todd Loren’s own life came to a tragic, lurid end, as he was stabbed to death at home in 1992. Loren was 32 years old, born three days before I was. Loren was gay, and he was (per Wikipedia) “well known in San Diego’s gay social circles.” Those circles included Andrew Cunanin, who later became infamous for committing five (known) murders in 1997, including the murder of fashion designer Gianni Versace. Some have speculated that Cunanin could also have been Loren’s murderer. Loren’s murder case remains unsolved. Cunanin committed suicide before he could be captured, and is now presumed to reside in Hell.

The Revolutionary line (including Rock ‘n’ Roll Comics) continued for a short time after Loren’s death, finally closing up shop in 1994. I had no further contact with Revolutionary after that single phone call to Todd Loren. 

I do still think there’s a market for a Monkees comic book. It may be a niche market, or it may be larger than that, but the market exists; I’m certain of it. The Monkees’ fabulous 2016 album Good Times! was a # 1 hit, fercryinoutloud. Monkees fandom is under-served. We deserve better.


The Monkees’ only latter-day comic-book appearance was a guest spot in The Archies # 4 in 2018, a welcome tribute to the benevolent vibe of Micky, Davy, Peter, and Michael. I wish for an ongoing Monkees comic book series, even if I’m not the one who gets to write it. There should also be a Batman Meets The Monkees story. And I have a specific idea for a Monkees mini-series that I’m a little surprised no one’s proposed yet. I probably won’t have any plausible opportunity to write any of this, but a guy can dream.

Decades after all those failed attempts to break into comics, I’ve finally made my first sales, with three prose short stories sold to AHOY Comics. One of ’em is a rock ‘n’ roll story. I’d still like to write some comics. I have ideas. Some may be worth developing. Some, alas, will remain unfinished and abandoned.

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Fans of pop music will want to check out Waterloo Sunset–Benefit For This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio, a new pop compilation benefiting SPARK! Syracuse, the home of This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio with Dana & CarlTIR’N’RR Allstars–Steve StoeckelBruce GordonJoel TinnelStacy CarsonEytan MirskyTeresa CowlesDan PavelichIrene Peña, Keith Klingensmith, and Rich Firestone–offer a fantastic new version of The Kinks’ classic “Waterloo Sunset.” That’s supplemented by eleven more tracks (plus a hidden bonus track), including previously-unreleased gems from The Click BeetlesEytan MirskyPop Co-OpIrene PeñaMichael Slawter (covering The Posies), and The Anderson Council (covering XTC), a new remix of “Infinite Soul” by The Grip Weeds, and familiar TIRnRR Fave Raves by Vegas With RandolphGretchen’s WheelThe Armoires, and Pacific Soul Ltd. Oh, and that mystery bonus track? It’s exquisite. You need this. You’re buying it from Futureman.
Hey, Carl’s writin’ a book! The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1) will contain 100 essays (and then some) about 100 tracks, plus two bonus instrumentals, each one of ’em THE greatest record ever made. An infinite number of records can each be the greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. Updated initial information can be seen here: THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE! (Volume 1)

Our most recent compilation CDThis Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio, Volume 4 is still available from Kool Kat Musik! 29 tracks of irresistible rockin’ pop, starring Pop Co-OpRay PaulCirce Link & Christian NesmithVegas With Randolph Featuring Lannie FlowersThe SlapbacksP. HuxIrene PeñaMichael Oliver & the Sacred Band Featuring Dave MerrittThe RubinoosStepford KnivesThe Grip WeedsPopdudesRonnie DarkThe FlashcubesChris von SneidernThe Bottle Kids1.4.5.The SmithereensPaul Collins’ BeatThe Hit SquadThe RulersThe Legal MattersMaura & the Bright LightsLisa Mychols, and Mr. Encrypto & the CyphersYou gotta have it, so order it here. A digital download version (minus The Smithereens’ track) is also available from Futureman Records

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Pop-A-Looza is a small business that employs creators that provide the content we post. This may shock some, but we love to be able to pay them! While we do make money from ads that you see, we also rely on the sale of merch from our official store, to pay these fine folks! Today, our t-shirts are on sale for only $13!

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Just Say Uncle

To support the art of Dan Pavelich, please visit http://www.patreon.com/justsayuncle.
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UNFINISHED AND ABANDONED: The Comic Book Telephone Pitches, Part 1

By Carl Cafarelli

Unfinished And Abandoned digs deeeeep into my unpublished archives, and exhumes projects that I started (sometimes barely started) but abandoned, unfinished. I am such a quitter.

WARNING: this blog piece contains no actual Batman content. Holy bait and switch!

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned these two (admittedly nondescript) sequences, but it occurs to me they’re worth documenting in all their unexceptional glory.

By the end of the 1980s, I’d begun to have a tiny bit of success as a freelance writer. My triumphs were meager, but they were sales, paychecks (however paltry) for stuff I’d written. I’d begun with writing about comics in Amazing Heroes from 1984 to ’86 or ’87, added a sale to Comics Collector in 1985, and commenced my two-decade stint as a freelance pop music journalist for Goldmine in 1986. Somewhere in there, I also started freelancing (very) occasionally for The Comics Buyer’s Guide.

My association with Amazing Heroes publisher Fantagraphics ended unpleasantly in 1987. A friend of mine knew a publisher just getting started with a new magazine about comics; I met with the guy informally, we established mutual interest, but I never completed anything to submit there. That magazine was itself short-lived, and I confess that the amateur level of writing on its editorial side may have dissuaded me from pursuing it. It may be a sin of pride or just outright arrogance, but I believe in my writing; I always aim to be among the best writers involved in any collaborative project, while expecting that the other writers will also be accomplished and capable, our collective prowess spurring all of us to be at the top of our game. I had that experience with Goldmine and a number of subsequent endeavors, but I didn’t see that as likely in this particular comics zine.

I had not managed to sell any fiction to any market. Hey, see what I just said above about my nonfiction writing? Those rosy comments emphatically do not apply to the fiction I was writing in the ’80s and ’90s; that stuff was terrible. I got better, and I finally made my first fiction sales this year, to the good folks at AHOY Comics. But those earlier attempts? Yechh. Looking back on them now reminds that I should probably oughtta have a little more humility in mind before complaining about someone else’s amateur writing.

Anyway. In the late ’80s and (maybe) the early ’90s, I attempted to pitch comics ideas to two different publishers. The first was Harvey Comics, famous publisher of such characters as Casper the Friendly Ghost and Richie Rich. I read a notice in The Comics Buyer’s Guide that Harvey was looking to re-start its comics line, and was in need of writers. Wikipedia says that would have been 1986, but I think it was ’87 by the time I called Alan Harvey to pitch the idea of hiring ol’ CC as a freelance member of the mighty Harvey bullpen.

Harvey was pleasant and professional during our short conversation. We went over my resumé (which was modest, but not empty), and he told me what he needed. As I recall, he was looking for single-page gag strips, to be submitted via a proposal detailing the setup and the punchline. I had written humor in the past, so it wasn’t completely out of left field for me to attempt to craft some hilarious hijinks for the Harvey cast. We exchanged closing pleasantries, and he wished me luck.

I started trying to come up with something I thought Harvey could use, but I just couldn’t execute anything. I’m not sure what I was thinking to begin with when I contacted Harvey, other than yeah, I was looking to break into comics. I didn’t have any gag ideas. Knowing me (then and now), I betcha I was looking to bring some kind of continuity and longer-form storytelling into the mix, the sort of thing that was commonplace in superhero comics but not at all what Harvey would have wanted for its stable of stars. I’m also sure that I wanted to write Hot Stuff, the cartoon little devil who had been my favorite Harvey character when I was a kid, but I don’t think Hot Stuff was among the properties for which Harvey was seeking new material in the late ’80s.

(I had kind of a similar notion a few years before that, when Archie Comics attempted to revive its superhero line under the Red Circle Comics imprint. I scribbled some vague notions of a back-up strip starring the obscure hero Blackjack–figuring I wouldn’t face any potential competitors looking to be the official Blackjack scribe–in a story called “Murder In Riverdale.” Yeah, that Riverdale, as our hero solves the mystery when everyone’s pal Archie Andrews is accused of murder most foul. Although it would have been played straight and remained respectful of Archie and his pals and gals, there was no way in hell Archie/Red Circle would have considered buying that story.)

The Archie gang and superheroes? I was just ahead of my time.

Ultimately, my Harvey Comics ambitions were misplaced and unrealized, unfinished and abandoned. But I still had one more comic book publisher I would pitch over the phone. We’ll talk about my pitch to Revolutionary Comics next time. Here I come, walkin’ down the street….

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Petula Clark

Born on this day in 1932, in Surrey, England, singer and actress, Petula Clark. Clark was an international sensation in the 1950’s and 1960’s, with her hits; Downtown, A Sign Of The Times, I Know A Place and many others. Her film credits include; Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Finian’s Rainbow and Never Never Land.

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Father Of The Brood