It's no secret that I'm a big fan of "Weird Al" Yankovic. In addition to being a fantastic talent and the artist most associated with pop culture parody for the last 30 years, he also seems to be a genuinely good-natured, easy going and conscientious human being, which makes him all the more likable. Since 2009 he's had a rather impressive run of success in a number of fields: he's released albums, directed films, written a best-selling children's book, gone on tour on three continents...it doesn't seem like he ever slows down. His newest song just debuted and his 13th studio album, "Alpocalypse", is set to be released on June 21st.
A few weeks ago, it was announced that a coffee table book containing "an illustrated history of Al's life an career" was going to be published in late 2012. The publisher is currently looking for photos and artwork pertaining to Al and his band to include in the book - when I heard this, I knew I had to create something to submit, and the above comic strip is what I came up with. I realize that the chances of me getting anything - let alone a long-form comic strip - published when the powers that be are probably looking for, say, pictures of Al at the UHF premiere in 1989 are probably pretty slim, but I nevertheless had to give it a shot.
I, hopefully obviously, was going for the look of a Sunday comic strip with this piece, and at least visually I wanted to recreate the feel of some of my favorite comic strips such as Calvin & Hobbes and Robotman (back when it was called Robotman). Those strips were always unafraid to do something new and creative, and that's what I attempted to accomplish with this. If nothing else, I realized just how difficult it is to create an entire beginning, middle and end of a story in seven short panels...and comic strip artists have to do more with less six days a week!
The art for this strip is by the extremely talented Bago (check out his deviantART gallery here), who pencilled, inked, colored and lettered the entire thing in a fantastically short amount of time. He did such a nice job of taking something as incongruous as Weird Al and a bikini model on a space ship in the future and made it seem like no big deal. I'm grateful for everything he did to make this look as nice as it could.
I'm going to a Weird Al concert in Pittsburgh next week, at which time I hope to get a chance to talk to him for a little while afterwards so I can give him a copy of the above comic strip. Of course, my goal is to get it printed in the book, but just getting it in front of the man would make me feel pretty good for a lot of reasons.
Judging from his Twitter feed and other outside observations, I'd say that, at the very least, Al has the Google set up to make him aware of when he's mentioned online, so there's a chance that he's reading the strip himself...which would be pretty neat. In that case, let me state in no unclear terms that I give permission to include this in the soon-to-be-published book. Heck, I'd go as far as to say that anyone can publish "Accordion Theory" in this original form anywhere they'd like. Seriously, show it around.
"Accordion theory", by the way, generally refers to the evolution of retail institutions, but it was too good a phrase to pass up for this strip. I had a lot of fun doing it and I hope that maybe soon Al will see it (and perhaps even like it) too.