This issue of cartoons isn’t all about looking in the rear view mirror at 2003. We’re using our annual paean to pen and ink to kick off a new serialized comic for our music section. Readers of the new work called (for now) . . . And Then There Was Rock, will recognize the artwork, humor and philosophy of artist Kevin Dixon, whose work has graced the pages of this publication off and on for years. If you look closely, you may also recognize bits of the local music scene of yore, particularly Zen Frisbee, the band Dixon played in for years. In a recent interview Dixon offered a few insights for readers about what’s in store.

The Independent: Kevin, how’d this comic come about?

Dixon: Well, you asked me to. Every music editor at The Independent has said how cool it would be to do a regular strip about a band, but when we started talking about money it always fell apart. You’re the first one to come up with a check. . . Actually, I’ve been dying to do a strip about music–to do an ongoing story about a band–for years.

Are we going to see some Zen Frisbee in this?

A lot of it is going to be based on those experiences. It’s all about the experiences of an old man who is warning the young ones of the pitfalls of the music world.

Are you an old man now?

I sure feel like it. I’m getting to be more of a curmudgeon every day.

Better that than an old muffin. What’s the difference between doing a serial and other stuff you’ve done?

One of the most challenging things about doing a cartoon is wrapping it into the space allotted. If it’s a whole page you’ve got to make sure you fill it up. If it’s limited to one strip you got to pack the idea into four or five panels. The serial gives you more room to work. In the end, it’s not much different than doing one very long piece. My hope is that we can eventually turn this into some kind of graphic novel.

It’s got a long build up.

Yes, a very long build up. I can assure people that it is about music, though. By summer that will be apparent. But I didn’t want to rush into it; I needed to set up the background story. Obviously the whole first part is a spoof on Shazam!

What about the name?

That’s the only thing I could think of. If anybody thinks it sucks and has a better idea, send it in.

Last question. I know I should know this, but who is Ywinge Maalsteen?

He’s a Swedish super-flatulent lead guitarist. He was one of those guys that were touted as best in the world at one point.

Full disclosure: Almost a decade ago, long before becoming Managing Editor of The Independent, the interviewer helped compile and release a Zen Frisbee compilation. (And lived to tell the tale.)