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. #2 just came out this week!
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.
PAGE 1: We’re kicking off our issue with another flashback from Roach Riley, our homicidal homage to Mort Walker’s Beetle Bailey. In addition to Major, our parody of Sergeant Snorkel, we’ve also got a new addition to the mix — Miss Shapely, who is our take on Beetle’s girlfriend Miss Buxley.
PAGE 3: This is the page where we really go wild with our comic strip parodies here — eagle-eyed readers might catch our riff on Opus the Penguin from Berkeley Breathed’s Bloom County in Panel 2...
our Marmaduke pastiche in Panel 4....
our Hagar the Horrible-inspired biker gang in Panel 6....
or the sad dotted line as Locke drags away a hapless gangster in our fun little riff on the Family Circus...
PAGE 4: Some readers might not recognize this character, but if you see something familiar about his glasses, necktie and unmistakable haircut, you might realize our computer hacker Norbert is our parody of Scott Adams’ Dilbert. (Some might recognize Adams’ use of the term “master persuader” during his fawning political analysis of Donald Trump. I consider shoving Norbert’s head in the toilet to be my thoughtful rebuttal.)
PAGE 5: And for those who haven’t read SPENCER & LOCKE before, we finally get to see both of our title characters in full view. Spencer and Locke are, of course, our homage to Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes, with hard-boiled Detective Locke fighting crime and seeking justice with the help of his partner, a seven-foot-tall imaginary panther named Spencer. (If you haven’t read SPENCER & LOCKE’s Ringo Award-nominated first volume, it’s on sale for 99 cents an issue at ComiXology through June 14.)
PAGE 6: For those who haven’t checked out the previous issue of SPENCER & LOCKE 2, we’re reintroduced to Melinda Mercury, Star Reporter — our riff on Dale Messick’s crusading comic strip journalist Brenda Starr. Meanwhile, in the Frank Miller-inspired TV interview at the top of the page, we’re reintroduced to Hal Forrester, who we introduced last issue as our riff on Hi from Mort Walker’s Hi and Lois.
PAGE 8: We also get a quick cameo from the rest of Roach’s platoon here, including our unnamed riffs on Plato, Killer, Lieutenant Fuzz, Chaplain Staneglass, and Zero.
PAGE 9: Here we’ve got a flashback in the style of Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson, where we see Sophie Jenkins — the murder victim in our first series, as well as our homage to Calvin’s frenemy Susie Derkins.
PAGE 11: He only gets a quick panel before things turn sideways, but Judge Porter was our wink and nod to Nicholas P. Dallis’s long-running soap opera strip Judge Parker.
PAGE 15: With a Bill Watterson-inspired flashback, readers are reintroduced to Augustus, Locke’s evil father from our first volume. We quickly learn why Locke might have some bad feelings about bicycles…
PAGE 18: Which we pay off on Page 18. Calvin’s killer bicycle was something I always wanted to include in our first volume, but we couldn’t quite make the choreography work in our previous car chase. I think we were able to lend a lot more meaning with this particular sequence.
PAGE 22: No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you — we’ve actually got a rare two-fer homage with our final page cliffhanger! Not only is Hero donning the cape and cowl of another iconic Bill Watterson reference — that of Calvin’s superheroic alter ego Stupendous Man — but we are also referencing Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s classic Wolverine cliffhanger at the end of Uncanny X-Men #132.
Great stuff, David, thanks!
If anyone else has a non-Spencer and Locke comic book easter egg they'd like to see spotlighted, just drop me a line at email@example.com!