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Grass Roots

Phil Peterson and Jason Smith look to expand Yes Indeed into more than a microfestival.

It would be more than a decade before something that good would come along again.

I'm no fan of My Chemical Romance, though that's probably just gothic snottiness over what most goths refer to as "Hot Topic emo bullshit." The weird thing is, that band was never really supposed to happen. Gerard Way grew up idolizing and drawing comics. He was even a guest on Sally Jesse Raphael at age 16 discussing the controversy surrounding featuring serial killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer in comic books.

Way was on track to enter the comic industry, and had just about chosen the worst time to do it. Comics had collapsed in the wake of oversaturation and poor quality in the '90s. Then he watched the September 11 tragedy unfold and decided that staring at a computer screen in the basement working on breaking into comics was futile, not to mention depressing. That's how My Chemical Romance was started, as a backup gig to a comic nerd's big dream.

Luckily, Way never let go of that dream because he is a fantastic comic creator. In 2007, he teamed with artist Gabriel Ba to put out a six-issue comic called The Umbrella Academy. It's the story of a mad scientist who collects mysterious children born with astounding powers and turns them into a superpowered fighting force. It turns out that making kids into commandos fighting bloody battles doesn't do much for the psyche, and they reunite for a dysfunctional version of the apocalypse upon the death of their adoptive father.

It's a mad book, a perceptive look at rejection and familial relationships backdropped in a fully developed world of strange wonders. Way won an Eisner Award for the work, and followed it up with a sequel. Now he's putting out a really first-rate monthly book, The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, which focuses on a mysterious girl trying to reunite a shattered rebellion against a tyrannical corporation that rules the world.

Today more and more rockers are finding a voice in comics, especially thanks to the publisher Dark Horse. In 2011, Tom Morello wrote a 12-issue series, Orchid, that followed a prostitute who learns she is more than just a role in society in a postapocalyptic world. Slipknot and Stone Sour's Corey Taylor also entered the comic arena this year with House of Gold & Bones, which calls to mind Gaiman and Cooper's Last Temptation work by tying in with Stone Sour's concept album of the same name, which was released in April. Taylor has said that the comic may pave the way for a film soon.

Even Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ghostface Killah and composer Adrian Younge have gotten in on the comic medium, releasing Twelve Reasons to Die to tremendous critical acclaim. That's the difference you're seeing now, I feel. Folks like Way and Ghostface not only have a solid love and appreciation for comic books, they also don't see them as mere marketing tools. For the first time since Cooper and Gaiman sat down together to write the story of Steven and a haunted stage show, music and comics are getting an equal amount of effort when the two collide.

Which is a fair sight better than watching Gene Simmons's boots breathe fire for no damned reason.
_____________________

Screwston, Texas

Farewell to a DJ
Friends and loved ones, including more than 25 turntablists, pay last respects to Elroy Boogie.

Marco Torres

When Roy Samano was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, the city's tight-knit community of DJs and entertainment personalities stood in shock. Samano, who was known throughout Houston and beyond by his DJ name "Elroy Boogie," was one of the kindest, most loving and most talented DJs ever to touch a turntable. When he passed away last month, our hearts sank. Hundreds attended his eulogy and funeral service.

September 3 at Mixxwell Audio Lab (1550 Westheimer), those same friends and family came together in tribute to Elroy Boogie. When a police officer or soldier passes away, there's a 21-gun salute. When a beloved sports figure goes on to the big ballfield in the sky, we are shown highlights of his or her career. So it's only fitting that a DJ be remembered with a mixer and a turntable, or, in this case, eight mixers and turntables.

Of all the elements of turntablism, which include beat-juggling and mixing, scratching and cutting are the most personal. The DJ uses his or her own imagination to create sounds that accompany the backing beat being played. No two cutting sessions sound exactly the same, nor did the ones at Samano's tribute.

The late DJ's parents, brother and other family members were in attendance, each wearing the now-famous Elroy Boogie caricature T-shirts and buttons. The night was organized as a benefit to the Samano family, with a donation requested at the door. The minimum goal was to raise at least $1,000 to offset medical bills accumulated during Samano's illness, an amount that will be matched with another $1,000 courtesy of the local Red Bull office.

Houston DJ crew The Almighty Kracker Nuttz, of which Elroy was a member, hosted and organized the event in conjunction with the Samano family, with Kracker Nuttz co-founders DJ Baby Jae and Klean Cutt keeping things running smoothly. Other DJ crews in attendance included the Booth Pimps and Kratez Crew, as well as DJs from Austin who drove in to show respect, reaching a total of almost 40 DJs.

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