As I've mentioned a few times in the past couple weeks, the above "Accordion Theory" comic strip was created because of a new "Weird Al" Yankovic coffee table book that's set to come out in 2012. There was a call for photos and artwork from fans, and since I don't have any uniquely good pictures and I can't draw a decent portrait to save my life, Adrian "Bago" Gonzalez and I put together the short strip you see at top.
The file has since been submitted to the publisher, which was one leg of the journey, but I also had an opportunity to see Al on tour this past Sunday at the new Stage AE in Pittsburgh, and I knew that I might be able to directly give the man himself a copy.
The show itself was unbelievable beyond the fact that Al and his band always put on a high energy, fun performance. I managed to situate myself in the absolute front, pressed up against the stage, and - get this - I got to sing into the microphone twice during the show. It was a really incredible experience all around and it's something I'll remember for a long, long time.
After the show was over, I had a chance to talk with Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz, Al's drummer and all around good guy. I've met Jon a couple of times after shows, and he's always very friendly and willing to chat. I'm also pretty convinced that the submission e-mail address goes directly to him, as he does a lot of archival work of Al's career and has a big online presence, so I managed to hand him a print of the comic along with the high resolution file on CD.
A handful - maybe 30 or 40 - of fans stuck around after the show long enough to say a few words to Al (it was nice of him to take the time after probably exhausing himself on stage for 2 1/2 hours), and I was able to ask him really fanboy-ish questions like "Why was the single version of 'UHF' put on your Essentials album instead of the longer version?" and "Is Victoria Jackson really crazy, or it is all an Andy Kaufman-like stunt?", and perhaps more importatnly, I was able to get him a copy of "Accordion Theory". I have no idea if he's read it. But man oh man, he got a print. He even signed one for me, which you can see above.
This is the best picture I could manage to get while Al was signing stuff. From our expressions below it looks like I'm giving him a speeding ticket or something.
And here's just a random picture from the show. That "Fat" costume is great...but I'll bet it's pretty disgusting inside at the end of a touring season. That's guitarist Jim "Kimo" West at the bottom left. Fingers crossed for the coffee table book.
I knew it was a good sign when, the day after I posted the comic strip up for the first time, I checked the statistics on it and 27 people had viewed it overnight. The number 27 is one that gets referenced a lot in Al's songs. Oh, and after the show was over, I stopped at the casino next door and won exactly 27 dollars, no kidding.
A few more notes before I go:
- My good friend Paul Tucker and I are working on a new short story about a dead guy who solves murder cases. Okay, that's an oversimplification, but Paul has really run with the concept and has taken it to greater heights than if I were the only one in chage. The below panel is just some test art from Paul - it doesn't actually appear in the story, but it's gotten me to change a few things and incorporate some of the concepts of the panel itself.
Paul has been working on refining his craft for a number of months now, and the results should be obvious. He's really got that old-time EC Comics look down.
- I'm beginning some work on a new FUBAR project; I won't give it away just yet (because I really am just getting started), but it involves the below comic strips and, well, zombie, of course. It'll be different and, hopefully, exciting. The Baltimore Comic-Con should be bunches of fun when it rolls around this August.
- Lastly, I took one of the Motor City Comic Con pictures into Illustrator and made a mock postcard for Franks and Beans. Since we all love Franks and Beans (WE ALL DO), I thought I'd post it here as well. That guy in the top right corner still makes it all work.