This is Comic Book Easter Eggs, where I spotlight notable "Easter Eggs" (basically hidden references) within comic books or other media (so long as it is connected to comic books somehow).
This time around, David Pepose will be sharing with me comic strip Easter Eggs for each issue of his new series with Jorge Santiago, Jr., Jasen Smith and Colin Bell, Spencer & Locke 2.
In case you're unfamiliar with the series, it is a dark take on Bill Watterson's iconic Calvin and Hobbes, with the now grown-up Detective Spencer getting through life with his stuffed panther, Locke, who Spencer imagines as his gritty partner. In this new volume, the big bad guy is Roach Riley, a dark twist on Mort Walker's Beetle Bailey.
David and Jorge put a whole lot of other comic strip references into the comic book, and every issue, David will stop by and share them with us.
Let's begin! David's comments are bolded!
Page 1: This isn’t your parent’s Camp Swampy — similar to our first volume, we’re kicking off SPENCER & LOCKE 2 with a parody of another comic strip icon: Mort Walker’s Beetle Bailey. Here our lovable slacker private is named Roach Riley, while Major is our twist on Beetle’s quick-tempered commanding officer Sarge. Things… do not go well for them.
Pages 2-3: Cutting back to the present, we get to meet Roach again, but this time in a brand-new light. But eagle-eyed viewers might recognize the center-parted hairstyle of his first victim in Panel 3: it’s our riff on Blondie’s Dagwood Bumstead.
Page 4: For those unfamiliar with our first volume, our central characters are hard-boiled noir parodies of Bill Watterson’s iconic Calvin and Hobbes, and in these flashbacks, we see our previously established twists on Calvin’s mother and father, as well as his next-door-neighbor Susie Derkins.
Page 5: You might notice this based on the haircut, fashion sense and profession, but Locke’s psychiatrist is our thinly veiled riff on Lucy van Pelt, from Charles Schulz’s Peanuts. Perhaps unsurprisingly, her co-pay has risen significantly from five cents. We also get to see the Spencer doll in our final panel — our take on the classic stuffed Hobbes tiger doll.
Page 6: Here we finally reintroduce our title characters, Spencer and Locke, who are our pitch-black pastiches of Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes — Locke being a hard-boiled detective with a harrowing past, and Spencer being the seven-foot-tall imaginary panther who helped him get through his abusive childhood.
Page 8, Panel 1: Locke’s new love interest, Melinda Mercury — a “Star Reporter” in the same vein as Dale Messick’s Brenda Starr, Reporter. We felt that with Locke’s life imploding all around him, he would seek out comfort and companionship in some capacity — but in keeping with his self-destructive tendencies, there are few worse people for a cop to date than a crusading reporter. Keep an eye on Melinda, because she’ll play a major role in the storyline to come.
Page 9, Panel 4: With apologies to Olivia James, I always found Nancy to have a creepy, unsettling stare, and so I thought it would be hilarious to have a parody of Nancy and Sluggo as regulars in a seedy BDSM brothel. Of course, when I asked Jorge to draw this panel over a year ago, I had no idea Nancy would turn into an Internet sensation in the interim, but I do appreciate being ahead of the zeitgeist on this one. Sluggo is definitely lit.
Page 12: Political power couple Hal and Lana Forrester, of course, are our spoofs of another classic Mort Walker strip, Hi and Lois. (We even have Oscar, our nod to the Flagstons’ big white dog, Dawg.)
Great stuff, David, thanks!
If anyone else has a comic book easter egg they'd like to see spotlighted, just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!