Adventures of Ford Fairlane #1 (1990)

Adventures of Ford Fairlane #1 (May, 1990)
“Stayin’ Alive!”
Script – Gerard Jones
Stylization – Russell Braun
Pencils – Jose Delbo
Inks – Don Heck
Lettering – Jon D’Agostino
Colors – Tom Ziuko
Executive Editor – Joe Orlando
Cover Price: $1.50

This post will feature a fair amount of late 80’s raunch.  Proceed with caution.

Being a late-80’s/early-90’s kid growing up in New York City, there were a few forms of potentially trouble-worthy entertainment we held dear.  The things that, if our mothers knew we were partaking would likely get us at least a firm talking to.  Among them were Howard Stern, The Jerky Boys, and the subject of today’s discussion… Andrew Dice Clay.

Back then, I’m sure my pals and I had no interest in his overall act… we likely didn’t have the patience or attention span.  What we wanted were… the nursery rhymes.  Maybe it was the juxtaposition, maybe it was the irony… or maybe we just enjoyed hearing a grown man curse… yeah, it’s probably the last one.

Dice became something of a legend, at least in our world.  I remember getting precious few opportunities to listen to his stuff back in elementary school.  It’s funny, it was always a multi-man job.  One kid would “borrow” the cassette tape likely from an older brother… another would borrow a small cassette deck, and hopefully somebody would remember to bring headphones… During recess we would gather around and hopefully get a minute or two of listening in before a grown up caught on.

You always knew that one kid… that schmuck who said he had an even raunchier version of the tape at his house… but he couldn’t bring it to school because his father paid like a grand for it.  He just wanted people to hang out with him, so screw ‘im.

Dice is one of my most often (poorly) done impressions, which usually triggers looks of bemusement to those within earshot.  As a matter of fact, I may have already mentioned that my wife is a first-grade teacher.  Anytime the subject of nursery rhymes (or any rhymes, honestly) comes up, I immediately pop the collar on my shirt and let out a “hickory… dickory… dock”  Much to her embarrassment and confusion.

Oddly enough, I have never seen the film this comic was based on.  Let’s see if this issue inspires me to do so.

We open with Ford overlooking the Hollywood streets from above.  He is in his office, the door reads FORD FAIRLANE INVESTIGATIONS.  He begins to think back on the long strange road that led him here.

He thinks back to Brooklyn during the 1970’s, he and his buddy Johnny Teitelbaum are hard-rocking musicians about to head to a gig.  When they arrive, they are both shocked to find that the dreaded disco had taken over.  There’s no more music… just synthesized sounds.  Ford makes some comments that the club owners don’t appreciate, and a brawl breaks out.

Hickory, dickory, dock…

Someone tells them to cut it out… because this is a family place.  Only by family… they mean, well… Family.  Ford and Johnny bolt, being narrowly missed by gunfire.  The two huddle in a nearby alley and decide they can no longer stay in Brooklyn.  They figure Los Angeles may be their best bet, they’d always wanted to go there… and they may be able to get in with the record companies.

Out in L.A., Ford and Johnny ply their trade for several record companies with no success.  They continue to play at a seedy club to makes ends meet, when the owner decides that their kind of rock done ro-o-o-olled away, and sent them after it.  It’s here that the boys split up… Johnny decides to enroll in broadcasting school, while Dice is having far more difficulty giving up on the dream.

Dice takes a job at a record company as a janitor.  One day the agency needs a driver to pick up a VIP client, and Ford gets drafted.  He picks up famous rock vocalist-turned-disco sellout, Bob Balloo and his squeeze/disco queen Brik Scheisshus (get it?) from the airport.

Funny is funny… and that’s so funny.

As he drives them to their Beverly Hills home Dice changes the radio station from Disco garbage to hard-rock, much to Balloo’s annoyance.  Dice prods him for abandoning rock music, and proceeds to push both of his clients’ buttons.  Brik ain’t pleased (and is annoyed at the lack of liquid protein in the limo), but Bob laughs it off… and throws a wad of cash in Dice’s direction.  He tells him he’s got a job for him, and hopes his monetary gift will help put things into perspective.

During the drop off, Balloo tells Dice to get him a pound of Calcium Hypochlorite, which he claims is the only bleaching powder that works properly on his hair.  Brik stays in the limo, and demands to be taken to the recording studio.  Upon arrival finally gets her coveted liquid protein, and makes demands for someone to fetch her “voice”.

Dice wanders through the agency before meeting up with Chantal Del Canto.  She’s a heavyset woman with an angelic voice.  She sings all of Brik’s songs, while she lip syncs.  Dice escorts her to the studio and proceeds to argue with Brik over the way she treats Chantal.  The diva throws Dice out, dressing him down for being a toady for her man.

Ford delivers the “fairy-dust” to Balloo before telling him to eff-off.

Now, jobless and without any prospects Ford has no choice but to turn to his old friend… current college radio DJ Johnny Tee!  Johnny offers Ford a gig working publicity for a “hot new group”.  This hot talent turns out to be Disco Express, complete with leader of the pack, Captain Cool!

Are we sure Captain Cool isn’t Gilbert Gottfried?

The good Captain tells Dice in order to be noticed they need to get into the hottest club in town.  Dice refuses to help, finding the entire endeavor futile.  Captain Cool won’t take no for an answer, and tries to get in on his own… an attempt which is wildly unsuccessful.

I don’t want to see the Bouncer’s watch…

Screaming is heard from inside the club.  There’s been a murder.  Our old friend, Brik Scheisshus’s liquid protein has been poisoned!  Captain Cool flees the scene immediately.  The most likely suspect is the also present, Chantal Del Canto.  The authorities know of her contentious relationship with the deceased, and they found chemicals in her bag.

Ford thinks he smells a rat.  He follows the officers into the club, and predicts that she was poisoned by the same “fairy-dust” he’d purchased earlier on.  The police begin to arrest him for the murder when he tells them he can take them to the real killer.

At the Balloo home there is a wild and decadent party ensuing.  Dice and Company bust in and go straight for the man.  A fight breaks out, which ends with Balloo taking a swim with a set of speakers.  Somehow this convinces the officers that Dice is not only a good guy, but would make a great detective.

Stands to reason…

We flash forward a bit to Dice who is in bed with three women.  His phone rings… it’s Captain Cool!  He explains that he ran off earlier because he’s currently enrolled in the Police Academy, and he could not afford to be seen around any scandal.  The Captain convinces Dice that he should ditch the rock ‘n roll and embrace his budding detective-side… and away we go.  Meet Ford Fairlane, Rock and Roll Detective!

The issue closed with a four-page text piece.

This was a lot of fun.

Stupid?  Maybe.  A product of its time?  Certainly.  Worth reading more than once?  Nah… but, FUN.

Different than most comics I’ve read.  It’s based on a movie, yes… but it serves as its prequel.  I would have to assume that Gerard Jones may have had a fair amount more freedom not having to do a straight adaptation.  As this is a comic from a quarter-century ago, it had to be neutered… somewhat.  There was a bit of raunch and a bit of edge… I think they pushed the envelope a sufficient amount, that is to say… when it mattered, they got the point across.

OH!
Hmm…
Not only a poet, but a prophet.

The art was good, though I wish Ford looked more like Dice.  He just looks like a generic greaser, I think I’d have enjoyed it more if he had a more Dice-ish look, at least it would help me exclaim “… OH!” after all of his lines.  Johnny didn’t resemble Gilbert Gottfried, but I really don’t have any complaints there.  Captain Cool does bear a somewhat striking resemblance to Gil, however.

The cover is very nice, and as it’s been pointed out to me, kind of resembles something out of DC Comics Piranha Press Imprint.  I believe the same artist did the cover and interior… It would have been nice to have more of this type of art on the inside.

Recommended?  Yeah.  Check it out if you can find it.  It’s an oddity, and (at least in my neck of the woods) a rarity.  It’s stupid silly fun, and not a bad 10-15 minute investment.

Interesting Ads: (just the one)

No comments yet

  1. Wow, the legendary (and often derided) Don Heck on inks! I wonder if this was one of his last jobs in comics? He would have passed away about five years later. It actually looks a lot better overall than I remember it being, though with the charcoal-looking cover and four pages of text, you can see why I thought it was Piranha Press.

    • I was surprised to see Don Heck's name on this… I only recognized him as the guy who started drawing Avengers after Kirby left. He certainly had big shows to fill…

      Re: Piranha Press, I can totally see that. When we spoke I was trying to wrack my brain to remember the phrase "trade dress", which is VERY evocative of Piranha

Leave a Reply