When I was working on my master's degree in English, I wanted to round out my studies with a final project on Cincinnati music, something I've invested in as a musician and journalist. Easily, I could have written a journalistic treatise on the city's sonic tapestry, but I wanted a challenge that would force me into a new outlet of creativity. That's why I wrote a graphic narrative. In the end, I scripted six stories, including "Who are They?," the most recent story that artist Tom Bolton and I are publishing here at CityBeat. (The other stories are deep in someone's bat cave.)
"Who are They?" is a tight focus on Connie Morris (last name changed), who faced a personal tragedy on Dec. 3, 1979, when Rock band The Who played Riverfront Coliseum. As reported over the years, crowds outside the coliseum went into a frenzy when they thought The Who was starting early; many were fighting their way to the door, simply because the concert allowed "festival seating," or what I call squeeze-in-where-you-can standing
We connected with Connie in early 2010, shortly after she told my girlfriend about the incident. (Disclosure: They work together.) I remember Connie's gut reaction when I told her I was writing a "comic book" on Cincinnati music.
"But this isn't going to be funny, is it?" she laughed, nervously, as we sat down for drinks.
"No, no," I said. I searched my mind for a way to explain that it wouldn't be a superhero comic or something from the Sunday funnies, but rather, a graphic dramatization. "This is serious."
Flash forward to December, 2011. Tom and I have a serious graphic narrative, centering on one of the most influential incidents in our city's music history. This is Connie's story.