How’s it goin’ Hellcats and Junkyard Dogs?
It’s time for a muthaflippin’ history lesson! I’ve been upfront and loaded about the fact that I’ve been kicking out the canoes as a hyper-fictional entity since day one. Here’s my bullet-to-the-temple biographer Owen Michael Johnson with some insider fruit on the origins of my tall existence. OJ’s been on the road with me since the beginning, gunning down the squares and typing the tales. Let her rip, slim jim.
Although it was written and set in rural Cumbria (at least the real-world stuff), the initial creative impetus for Raygun Roads was born in Staines, Surrey in 2011. Below are a few pages from a five page strip that ran in my personal sketchbook around that time.
As with any creative project, some elements remained (snow, Kirby-esque architechture, malignant newsreaders, anti-establishment sentiment) but much got chewed up and spat out in a different guise. In this incarnation, Raygun is male, and goes by the name Asteroid Elvis. As will be revealed in later portions of the book, a part of that name was re-constituted for a different character.
This idea of Raygun’s gender see-sawed for a while (the phrase as a forename is not gender specific). I’ll be talking at length about gender in a later blog post — how it matters, or doesn’t matter, that Raygun is female, and what that says,or doesn’t say, about her in relation to the book and the other characters.
Fast-forward 2 years. Notebook sketches and possible dialogue for the agents of D-Void, made during the writing of the script.
“D-VOID of Pashun is a stick-figure in a gimp suit. He has black visor goggles and the focal point of his outfit is a six-foot sentient strap-on with razor-blade centipede legs and a skull face.
D-VOID of Pryde is a twisted Venus Demilo wearing a long wedding dress of tissue paper. There is a massive hole punched through her chest and there’s a veil over her head.
D-VOID of Punch is a life-sized Judy puppet from the Punch & Judy show, complete with little baker’s outfit and petticoat, maid’s hat, and cracked porcelain face (see reference drawings). The creepy thing about her is the legs – the hairy legs of an adult male. On the feet, Dutch clogs.”
These guys were tremendous fun to pass onto Indio, who just nailed my vision for the characters whilst elevating them far beyond the limitations of my artistic abilities. Under his pen they are truly grotesque. Like a lot of Raygun Roads, these villains are intended to function as metaphorical or allegorical figures; their appearance tethered to their narrative purpose.
Plus one of them is a hairy man in Dutch clogs, a giant Judy mask (or is it his head?) and no pants. Terrifying.