Critics of his radio show call him controversial, opinionated, cloying, abrasive. His 'listeners' call him 'unlistenable' and a 'dim-witted white jew shade tree lawyer'. His on-air colleagues call him exasperating, impatient, trying, bizarre, forgetful. His callers call him on an 800 number. His daughters call him 'dad'. Arbitron calls him the #1 terrestrial morning radio draw in all of Southern California.
I call him BILL HANDEL -- ringleader of my favorite morning crew,
heard 5 to 9 a.m. on KFI in Los Angeles and Orange Counties!
I've listened to THE BILL HANDEL SHOW since 2004, shortly after moving to Los Angeles. He and his morning crew became a staple of my daily routine. Lineup changes introduced Gary Hoffmann as news anchor and Todd Wilson as sound engineer. It was their unlikely friendship that inspired this koo-koo "graphic novel".
Todd is a self-described comic book geek; in fact, his wardrobe consists entirely of T-shirts advertising this bit of widely-known trivia.
Myself a longtime KFI fan and kindred comic book geek * I felt a sudden glandular urge. The creative glands, that is, somewhere between inspiration and perspiration. So I set to work... Gradually, what amounted to a one-off throwaway comment by Michelle mutated into something far too powerful to control!
Brain-storming naturally led to the inclusion of Todd's bosom buddy and resident wise guy GARY HOFFMANN purposing a hero-sidekick dynamic, then situating BILL HANDEL into the role of antagonist. I've long enjoyed Gary's dry comebacks and witty riffs when bouncing off Handel. Not to mention I regularly tune in to The KFI Sunday Morning News where Hoffmann nicely teeters between objective reporting and biting analysis.
With the players on the field, I mocked up some sketches, patched together a story, fleshed out the supporting cast. Featuring cartoon cameos from the likes of sportscaster Rich Marotta, producer Michelle, traffic wizard Mike Nolan, evening host Tim Conway Jr. plus a rare appearance by KFI marketing director Neil Saavedra!
Development proved more effort than expected. I kinda got carried away. After ages enjoying KFI, it almost felt like I was writing and drawing about a group of good friends! I determined to get it right.
In crafting the dialogue I mined their stable of running jokes, speech patterns, sound bytes and Handelisms with which I'd become uncommonly familiar... Flash-forward two years, a 40-page graphic novella glorifying the daily insanity that is THE BILL HANDEL SHOW!
• PLOT •
When Handel goes missing, newsman Gary and soundman Todd use their supersecret superpowers to become Hoff-Man (able to predict news as it's reported!) and Todd-Person (occupying the margins between sound and volume!) Journeying into the perilous caverns far beneath the station, they encounter danger and intrigue (as well as a "host" of popular KFI personalities!) -- Will they find Handel and rescue him? Or does Handel have some sinister intent in store?
Hmm. Big questions. Big ideas. No doubt a source of study for historians and literary anaylists and radiographers and archeologists for millenia to come. Get in on the ground floor! Copies available now!
A percentage of proceeds go to approved CHARITIES!
• INDEX OF PLAYERS •
BILL HANDEL also dispenses marginal legal advice on the nationally syndicated Handel on the Law and truly enjoys telling callers they have absolutely no case. -- Saturdays 8 to 11 am on KFI AM 640
GARY HOFFMANN hosts the KFI Sunday Morning News -- Sundays 9 to 11 am on KFI AM 640
W. MATT STEWART * a little personal history might come in handy. I've self-published comics since age 10. I have a decent fine arts background. I learned to write before I could read. Learned to paint before I could draw. Learned to dance before I could walk. Learned to poop before I could pee. As a consumate hobbyist, making a quick one-shot comic seemed child's play. I foolishly believed I was awesome enough to do this in my spare time and move on with my life. With this, that and the other going on, "Handel on the Loose!" slowly evolved fins and became my White Whale... and... every once in a while, it tried to bite off my leg.
UPDATE: To hear HANDEL & CREW INTERVIEW ME about the comic, CLICK HERE!
(and scroll to the 15-min mark)
UPDATE: A portion of proceeds now feeding & clothing Haitian orphans!
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