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R&D at Nite Owl

I’m continuing to work on the Squeeze Box Man graphic novel with Jacob Yerex, who has been magically bringing my characters to life. I’m finding it creatively invigorating to work on this project collaboratively. Jacob has a great understanding of these characters and his excellent illustration work has sparked a number of new stories. I never imagined I would get involved with a graphic novel and now I’m really jazzed by this work.

Volume 2 is at the printer and we anticipate it will be out at the beginning of July. Meanwhile, we’re well into scripting and illustrating Volume 3 and planning and development for Volumes 4-6.

Through the story arc of Squeeze Box Man, the narrator, Lazy Allen, undergoes somewhat of a transformation. Lazy is short for Lazarus, and while he doesn’t physically come back from the dead, he does rebound from a prolonged period during which he worked a job he didn’t care about, drank a tremendous amount, and more or less existed as a shadow of his former self.

When we first meet Lazy, we learn he is a musician, who used to front a polka band called Lazy and the Rockets, but who has not played in public in a decade. He has lost his confidence and much of his spirit, and when his buddy Staashu asks him to play accordion in his new polka-punk band, Lazy doesn’t know if he can do it.

There will be a story in Volume 4 called Shave & a Haircut, in which Lazy gets himself cleaned up, part of his overall transformation. While this is happening, the reader listens in on Lazy’s telling conversation with his barber.

Jacob and I try to be attentive to a lot of detail in this project, and sometimes some research is required. As well, we want to begin to introduce a few real-life characters into the story. I get my haircut at the Nite Owl, here in Long Branch, (and yes, Lazy lives in Long Branch too). Nite Owl is a fabulous old school barber shop which opened in my neighbourhood a few years ago in what was an old barbershop which had been sitting dormant for a decade – like Lazy, waiting for a new life.

Last time I was in for a cut, I asked my awesome barber Steph if she would be the model for Lazy’s barber. She said sure, so yesterday afternoon, Jacob subbed for Lazy and went in for a shave and a trim. We wanted to capture many angles of the shave & a haircut process to use as the basis for Jacob’s illustrations of this story.

As Steph was doing her thing, I was there with my camera, taking dozens of pictures, capturing as much detail and as many angles as I could.

When Volume 4 of Squeeze Box Man comes out, not only will readers be able to see the physical part of Lazy’s transformation, they also will be able to see Steph reinvented as a comic book character set in the early 80s.

…………

Volume 1 of Squeeze Box Man is available in Toronto at West End Comics on Queen West and The Sidekick on Queen East, $12 per copy. It’s also available by emailing us at 27thStreetPress@gmail.com. To order this way, payment is by etransfer and there is a $3 postage fee. If you’re interested in the whole set, you can subscribe to all 6 issues for $60, a $2/issue savings.

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