Zip’s Last Day

(R; Crime/Horror) A corrupt FBI agent arrives in Boston to solve what looks like a murder mystery. As he tracks down clues, the case evolves into something much more bizarre.

Story Notes

This story came from a horrible first draft I wrote in 1988. "Life Ain't Nuthin' But Bitches and Money" was a half-hearted parody of Howard Chaykin's work. No one picked it up and I forgot all about 'til 2002 or so. Without its derivative elements, the story's essential themes are self-righteous rage, moral corruption, failure to communicate and the power of sex appeal.

This version was researched, written and drawn from the ground up. New research included FBI and Boston Police procedures, demonolgy and Boston-area history. FBI special agent John "Zip" Carroll is thinly based on John Connolly. The story is solidly set in Boston-area towns Brighton and Allston. The new script has improved dialogue, character motivations and scene descriptions, using time and weather as characters.

I abandoned my usual process of laying out the entire story in rigid thumbnail sketches. Using the approach used by R. Crumb, Jack Kirby and Jaime Hernandez, each page was built one at a time, from start to finish, with no regard for final page count. Another departure from my norm, each page is crammed with as much plot as possible. Visual influences include Steve Ditko's 9-panel grid layouts and David Lapham's retro-noir comic Stray Bullets.

"Zip’s Last Day" was produced completely digitally in 2003, advancing the techniques from "Six-Year-Old Horse Thief" and "Dead by the Pool". The color is brand new, continuing the momentum from "Plate Ground", "The Return" and "Six-Year-Old Horse Thief".

Tools and Materials

Dave M!, drivin' past the Stop 'n' Shop with my radio on.

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