In the early 70s I was a huge fan both of the comic book then called DAREDEVIL–The Man Without Fear! and of Neil Young. Not long after Neil’s album AFTER THE GOLD RUSH came out, and I had played it about 50 times (not exaggerating), I conceived a four-panel sequence for Daredevil, using lyrics from Neil’s song “Don’t Let It Bring You Down.” Gene Colan, penciler for Daredevil, would be the perfect illustrator of this sequence–his night scenes were superb. I wish mightily that I had written to the letters column “Let’s Level with Daredevil” and described my sequence.
Forty-odd years later, that stuff is still in my head, and, while I am no Gene Colan, I am a lot better at turning the sight in my mind’s eye to an image on paper. With an hour to go till the midnight Inktober deadline, I had finished the first two panels of my sequence. (I say “finished,” but what I have done is at best a “concept rough.” It would take two hours per panel to do a good job on the sequence.)
I do not have time to obtain permission from either Marvel Comics or Neil Young to use their intellectual property; but I come from a family of outlaws, so I will tip my hat to those two creative forces, NOT use my artwork on this post for commercial use, and hope that some find day I get the appropriate permissions, finish the page, and thrill my early-teen self with the result.
Neil’s lyrics to be illustrated, line by line:
Blind man running through the light of the night with an answer in his hand
Come on down to the river of sight and you can really understand
Red lights flashing through the window in the rain–can you hear the sirens moan
White cane lying in a gutter in the lane and you’re walking home alone . . .
My first panel:
My second panel:
Using famous words in a comic-book sequence is not new. Roy Thomas, writer, and John Buscema, artist, did a page of THE AVENGERS after the archenemy Ultron was defeated and seemingly destroyed, but his head was missing, though presumed disintegrated. It wasn’t, it was on a junk heap. On the final page, panel by panel and line by line, “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley is quoted, while a black kid finds Ultron’s head; examines it; kicks it around; pulls on an earpiece and it goes ZZZZT!, which apparently deactivates Ultron; drops the head, and wanders off for something else to do while captioned by the last line “The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
One difference is that Shelley’s work was public domain. Marvel’s and Neil’s aren’t. So I’m an outlaw, but not for profit, and I hope the powers that be will be merciful.