Pitch the thieving heart of Ocean’s Eleven into a blender with a gin-and-puke-soaked copy of “Never Mind the Bollocks,” a touch of The Usual Suspects and an old copy of MAD Magazine (back when it used to be a little dirty) and you may just end up with Simon Oliver and Rufus Dayglo’s LAST GANG IN TOWN—a crazed crime caper that’s rude, crass and possibly the funniest thing you’ll read this season.
Featuring a brawling gang of gutter punks who are either the absolute best criminals England’s ever seen or the utter worst—the jury’s still out on that—it’s a time-spanning tale that so far has largely taken place in 1977. Which made us wonder… What were Oliver, Dayglo and the rest of the LAST GANG IN TOWN creative team doing back then?
Simon Oliver, writer: Bits and some pieces, an assorted jumble sale of odds and ends, some may even be true:
I remember the heatwave of 1976, on the beach in Portsmouth, and getting bitten by a ladybird and deciding it was French, because we didn’t like the French, I’m not sure why. And we didn’t like the Germans either, but I know why because all my primary school teachers fought in the war and would tell us stories.
I remember the “winter of discontent,” the piles of rubbish in the streets and being in scary Victorian swimming baths at an old asylum, at night, when they cut the power off and all the kids started screaming.
I remember having to wear shorts to school in the snow that our primary school was made of flint and it hurt when the other boys slammed you against it. And Mark Haycock punched me hard enough to put my tooth through my lip and I still have the scar. And a week later his window cleaner dad fell off a ladder and died and we didn’t think that much of it, because back in the 1970s people died a lot. Grandparents were around and then they weren’t and everyone cried a lot, my best friend died when we were six and the last time I saw him he only had one eye and no one would tell me why.
I saw Wizard on Top of the Pops and I made my mom buy me a Wizard badge. All I can remember was the man singing had a massive beard. And there was Alvin Stardust with that black glove and Gary Glitter, but we don’t want to remember him.
But the only memory I have that I can pinpoint to an exact moment in time and space, was the 4th May 1979, it was my sister’s 12th birthday, the only time I ever kicked a football through a window, and it was the day Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister of England and things were supposed to get a lot better, but I remember that they didn’t.
Simon Oliver (on left)
Rufus Dayglo, artist: In 1977, I was three. I ate a shit ton of Lego bricks which terrified my mother. I bit a lotta kids. I stole their Corgi and Matchbox cars. My mum spent a lotta time apologising to other mums. I had a woolie jumper with “hello” on the front, and “goodbye” on the back so other fuckers knew which way I was going.
My dad took me to see Star Wars and later bought me the comic book. It was a Carmine Infantino book and my dad told me if I practiced I could draw comic books one day, too.
I convinced a girl at playgroup to show me her fanny for a stolen toy Corgi car. Good times.
Rufus Dayglo (on left)
Rob Davis, cover artist: I was 9 in 1977. I was making comics about killing with titles like Rent-a-Death, which featured Jim Killer who mostly killed people. He also killed Pete's Dragon. My favourite phrase was "Die now!" My favourite band was The Brotherhood of Man.
Giulia Brusco, colorist: I was 12, which makes me a dinosaur, I guess. I was an unbelievably ugly girl, and therefore all bossy kids at school's favourite pranks subject. I remember I started wearing Doc Martens boots because they were difficult to remove from your feet. Any other shoes I’d wear got promptly stolen off of my feet and dumped in the toilet. Happy days.
Molly Mahan, assistant editor: I assume I was listening to RUMOURS by Fleetwood Mac nonstop while tripping on acid in a past life.
Jamie S. Rich
Jamie S. Rich, editor: I was 5 in 1977, so I wasn’t even in kindergarten yet. My family lived in Kalamazoo, Michigan back then, and I remember that behind our house was a giant cornfield. I would spend most days unattended, running through the corn, making up stories and games. I have one vivid memory of chasing after a farmer on his tractor while he sprayed insecticide on the crops. It was a wide pole with many spigots and I ran up to it thinking it was water. He sent me home and told me to have my mother wash me up immediately. I don’t think I did. Which probably explains a lot of what is wrong with me now.
That’s what the LAST GANG IN TOWN creative crew was doing in ’77. But to discover what Ava, Alex, Joey, Billy Two-Planks and the rest of the LAST GANG characters were getting up to, be sure to grab LAST GANG IN TOWN #2, which is now available in print and as a digital download.