Posts Tagged Bob Adams

Maggot, Mokey™ and a Memorial — Part II

(continued from part 1)

Maggot’s unnamed friend has a complex origin, dating back in time to January, 1992. My friend Bob Adams and I were tapped by a Reno sporting goods store to develop some recurring characters for a line of t-shirts, posters and the like. Bob — a cartoonist I hired for the UNR Sagebrush years earlier — and I developed four female characters: Ghetto Skate Queen Kanice Lavine™, Snowboard Goddess Pogonip™, Shitatsu the Roller-Hockey Ninja™, and Larva Girl™, a roller derby tomboy.

Pogonip and Kanice Lavine by Bob Adams (click to enlarge)

Larva Girl and Shitatsu (click to enlarge)

In these sketches that Bob and I produced, you’ll see a familiar icon… the same “GRRR! face” icon that was always present on Maggot’s unnamed friend’s tank top. The sporting goods store didn’t pursue the t-shirt idea because if memory serves, they fell on tough times and went out of business. So those four characters remained as concepts only, squirreled away in my portfolio for 20+ years.

(The concepts for these girls didn’t completely die on the vine, though. At the time, I hadn’t yet reintroduced Like, For Shore! mainstays Maggot or Chippie Tenderloin into Cool Jerk. In 1994 I brought up Maggot’s androgyny for a short series of strips where — at the end — Maggot was christened “Larvae Girl.” And when I reintroduced Chippie as Yuri Tomato in 1995, I mentioned she was in the Spittle Beach roller hockey league.)

I mentioned that Bob was a cartoonist. Yep, he created a universe of characters and named his weekly strip “Action Comics,” which debuted in the UNR Sagebrush in Jan. 1989 while Bob was still a senior at Reno High School. We became fast friends and ended up spending a lot of free time drawing people at the malls and on campus, honing our cartooning skills and eating lunch at Port of Subs. We’d even drawn each other’s characters and mused about a “blended universe” where he could draw Doc Splatter with his characters, and vice versa. One of Bob’s myriad characters is Mokey™, a teenage skateboarder. While it wasn’t 100% my intent to have Maggot’s friend be Mokey™ from the very start, there’s no denying that “Maggot’s unnamed friend” is a spitting image of Mokey™: the age, build, haircut, skateboard, shorts and tank top (but with the “GRRR! face” icon).

The Saga of Rusty Plates by Bob Adams

Bob and I drifted apart after I moved to San Diego and he moved to Utah. During that time, Bob published two comic books— “U.S. 395” and “The Saga of Rusty Plates.” We’d since reconnected briefly via Facebook a few years ago (he’d returned to Reno and was working as security at UNR) but lines of communication dropped again when he deleted his Facebook profile.

Last autumn (2013) I received an email from Bob Adams’ aunt, who told me that Bob had died in February. She sought me out specifically because in Bob’s stacks of sketchbooks, drawings, art studies and comics, my name and characters kept showing up. I was — and am — shellshocked. Bob’s death has weighed on me for many months and I felt I needed to memorialize his work and passing. So I put forth a plan to make the big reveal that “Maggot’s unnamed friend” was Mokey™, and that Mokey™ was not from around these parts. In fact, Mokey™ is from a parallel universe — Bob Adams’ universe.

Like, For Shore! and Action Comics — the team-up supreme-up! (Mokey™ is highlighted, next to Maggot)

Here’s a drawing of Bob’s where he assembled his Action Comics characters and my Like, For Shore! characters (plus Doc Splatter and the ever-vomiting Timmy). I’m still having a rough time wrapping my head around the loss of Bob. Though he was a few years younger than me, Bob was one of my major “real-life” influences on my cartooning art style, not to mention his sense of humor and passion for ’80s action movies. While we never got a chance to collaborate on a comic, I intend to pay my respects to Bob throughout the year. So keep reading Cool Jerk to see those stories unfold.

That's me and Bob (on the right) circa 1990, judging by the Sagebrush t-shirt I'm wearing and the Action Comics t-shirt Bob's wearing.

Peace out, Bob.

Maggot, Mokey™ and a Memorial — Part I

When this year was barely a week old, I’d decided it was time to shake up the very foundation of Cool Jerk. I had four goals in mind:

• Focus on some of the b-list characters that never carry storylines on their own,
• Give Maggot a “make-over” (so to speak),
• Introduce and eliminate a character from Cool Jerk, and
• Pay respects to a friend who passed away last year.

And with the culmination of the 5-month Maggot/Mokey™ odyssey, I’ve done exactly that.

First, I wanted to focus on the b-listers. Despite Maggot being featured on the cover of Chickadoowa, I always considered him/her a b-list character — someone who never had enough gravitas to carry his/her own story aside from general punkass hi-jinks and being a target of retaliation. With the addition of Maggot’s unnamed friend (more on him later), Dangerman, Seashelly Dumpster, Pokéyman and Ah-Kan Dahak, suddenly I had a new cast of characters to write, even though most of them are Cool Jerk veterans of 20+ years.

For the love of god please don't click the image!

Maggot appeared in the very first Like, For Shore! (my college comic strip that beget Cool Jerk) on Sept. 1, 1987, along with Armpit, Puppy and Manhattan. I’ve had in my mind ever since reintroducing Maggot in Cool Jerk (Jan. 30, 1993) that his/her shtick would be gender ambiguity, which he/she would use for the following 21 years as a defining character trait. There’s even a pencil sketch of “female” Maggot in Hodabeast, which published in 2007. So at the very least, I’d been thinking about the “Maggot make-over” story for at least seven years. Once I saw a commercial for Axiron — and its side effects disclaimer — I knew I had to give Maggot the bewbs. The big reveal: Maggot is a girl.

Also debuting in the same 1993 strip with Maggot is “Maggot’s unnamed friend,” as he’s been known for more than 20 years (even getting index entries with that name in all four Cool Jerk books). It wasn’t until this storyline that I decided to reveal his name, who he is and then retire him indefinitely.

Next: The sad story of Mokey™

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