The year is 1977. The King is dead. The world mourns. But… When a mysterious briefcase turns up in his dressing room, Bruce-a coke-addled Elvis impersonator finds himself wedged between a Mob boss out for revenge and a government conspiracy with far-reaching, world-ending ramifications; all in an attempt to discover the true identity of his father’s killer.
Ed Lavallee, is founder/creator behind Crash Comics, his personal imprint comics with three core titles: Archeon, Pop Star Assassin, and Revere. Ed’s been writing comics since the late 90’s and self-published his debut comic book, Archeon through Digital Webbing back in 2002. When I asked him for the elevator pitch for his latest comic “Pop Star Assassin” he had me hooked.
“A coked-out Elvis impersonator gets wrapped up in a government conspiracy involving dead celebrity look-a-like, robot assassins – all in an attempt to find the identity of his father’s killer,” Ed exclaimed. “Sex, drugs, rock-n-robots, 70’s style in the all-out action adventure. So, basically that’s the pitch I use at conventions to sell the book. It’s lightning in a bottle. The artist on Pop Star, Marcelo Basile sums it pretty great as well as ‘a lysergic trip through the heart of American Conspiranoia!’ Love that!
Elvis stories aren’t hard to find, particularly those you might see in the Weekly World News, and that’s part of the inspiration of this comic series, along with all the fun things Ed remembered growing up.
“Pop Star has been a labor of love for me for a long, long time. It started as an idea based on all of the weird story headlines and sightings in the news after Elvis died,” Lavellee explained. “Seems like whenever an A-list celebrity died there were multiple conspiracies surrounding their deaths. All that turned into an amalgam of all of the things I enjoyed as kid growing up: Black Belt Theater, 70’s Sci-fi, Grindhouse/Blaxploitation, The Six Million Dollar Man, Creature Feature, Planet of the Apes, Saturday morning cartoons and comics…oh and the WARRIORS – don’t forget the Warriors!”
I remembered that this weekend marks the 44th anniversary of Elvis’ death, and asked if Ed was a fan of the King of Rock n Roll. “I’m a Huge fan of the KING!” Ed said without equivocation. ” I can even provide photos of me in full Elvis accouterments or was it an Elvis impersonator ala Pop Star Assassin? Seriously, I can give you pics if you want them for this interview! No matter how anyone feels, love him, or hate him, the KING definitely left an indelible mark on the world that isn’t going away anytime soon. Have you ever had a peanut butter and banana sandwich? C’mon!”
From this month’s edition of Diamond’s Previews, the first issue of Pop Star Assassin gets a great full page spread from Behemoth Comics, and looks like a blend of “gritty, grimy, Tarantino-esque stories mixed with adrenaline-fueled action”.
“I’ve tried to sum up what other books it’s like and it was difficult to say the least, mainly because it has a little bit of everything” Ed shared. “Big Trouble in Little China is one of the main sources for inspiration on this book, so if you like Big Trouble…the check is in the mail!”
Creatively the series has also seen a bit of a wild ride, according to Ed. He and Matt Cashel teamed up to co-write the first 3 issues. After that, Matt left to pursue another project. Ed had no problems finishing up the series, but the challenge was finding an artist. “After a couple of starts and stops with different artists…and I’m talking about being 20 pages in on art and the artist bails – TWICE starts and stops…I was lucky enough to come across Marcelo Basile’s work on Facebook. As I was looking at his art, I said to myself out loud, “I need to work with this guy!” so I immediately sent him a message. As luck would have it, he responded, and we’ve been thick as thieves ever since.”
When it came to lettering, Ed is also quite hands-on. “I lettered the first 3 issues and Letterer extraordinaire, Ed Dukeshire works his magic starting with issue 4. That guy is amazing! If you need a letterer, I can’t recommend him highly enough!”
If you check out Crash Comics, you” see Ed’s previous work focused more on on supernatural or fantasy adventures, and LaValle admits his first love has always been the fantasy genre. “I like to mix it up. I probably have 4 or 5 different ideas going at the moment. Fantasy, Hong Kong action-thriller, Futuristic sci-fi, Post-Apocalyptic, you name a genre, I probably have a notebook for it. There’s only one exception – superhero. Not saying it won’t happen, I just haven’t come up with my one great idea yet! “
Pop Star Assassin is Ed’s love letter to all of the things he loved and was influenced by as he was growing up, and he assures me that he has many more stories to tell.
“I don’t think I’ll ever stop,” Ed shared. “My wife tells me all the time, if you stop writing you will go crazy. She knows me better than anyone and she isn’t wrong. Pop Star Assassin and a new Revere are the books I’m currently working on. After those wrap, it will either be the Hong Kong action-thriller or the new Pirate fantasy tale – it could be both. And there will always be room for more Pop Star stories. Only time will tell! “
Pre-order Pop Star Assassin #1 from your local comic shop or from Behemoth Comics. You can find it in shops October 20, 2021.
My twitter: @crashcomx
Marcelo Basile: @MARCELOBASLE
Ed Dukeshire: @eDukeDW