Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Today in Comics History, September 12: Happy birthday, Neal Peart!

A very happy birthday today to the late great Neal Peart, drummer and primary lyricist for Canada's only band, Rush, born on this day in 1952! He was also a big fan of Ayn Rand, but as it's his birthday, we shan't hold that against him today.

But what, you may be asking around now, has Neal Peart got to do with the focus of this here puppet-town cow-blog about comic books? Well, that's a very good question, and I can answer it with a reference to the fact above that Neal was a fan of Ayn. I could also say to you a four-letter word: 2112.

cover of John Byrne's 2112 (Dark Horse, November 1991), pencils and inks by Inks John Byrne, colors by Steve Oliff (?)

No, no, no, get outta here, John Byrne, I didn't call you. I meant this 2112:

cover of 2112 by Rush (Anthem, 1976), artwork by Hugh Syme

Neal's connection to comic books is all tied into Marvel Comics "non-team," the (original) Defenders, the group that would accept just about everybody into its ranks for indeterminate amounts of timeuntil they figgered out they couldn't work well together. They didn't let me onto the team, however, and perhaps that's because I am well known as agreeable and amicable, and also I think Nighthawk is a jerk.

Defenders #45 is a story dedicated by its creators to Neal, Geddy Lee, and Alex Lifeson of Rush. And yet, it didn't even guest-star Alpha Flight, because they would not debut for two more years.

from The Defenders #45 (Marvel, March 1977), plot by Gerry Conway, dialogue by David Anthony Kraft and Roger Slifer, breakdowns by Keith Giffen, finishes by Klaus Janson, colors by Dave Hunt, letters by Gaspar Saladino (this page) and John Frost (all others)

"We Must Free the Defenders!" was based on 2112 and by extension Ayn Rand's Anthem and scatters includes a handful of narrative taken from the album, like "Truth is false and logic lost" from the song "The Twilight Zone"...

...and "become one with the Brotherhood of Man," paraphrased from the title track:

And just what did Neal Peart think about this issue? he liked it! He really liked it!

from FOOM #19 (Marvel, September 1977)

Happy birthday, Neal!

from Late Show with David Letterman (CBS, June 9, 2011)


Blam said...

Would you believe I was gonna mention that drum solo before I saw you embedded the video?

K. White said...

"Clockwork Angels" (the novelized adaptation of Rush's last album that Neil wrote with Kevin J. Anderson) got made into a comic miniseries a few years back.

(and yes, my nom de internet is inspired by "Cygnus X-1". ;))