about 5 years ago i was working on a project about the great soul singer, sam cooke. my pal&occasional editor jason rodriguez had a passion to tell sam’s story, and i wanted to surprise him by getting the ball rolling. i saw some caricatures that rob guillory had done and hit him up to do some of sam. jason was excited, and we came up with the plan to get things going. i’d script things and we’d all hammer out the story together. rob had a different way of handling things in mind, and eventually we parted ways on the project. he wound up on a little book called CHEW, where his comedic talents and storytelling flair have been delighting audiences for the last 4 years or so. here’s a look at his take on sam.
by this point i had been talking on the phone with peter guralnick, the writer and music historian who wrote the definitive book on sam’s life, DREAM BOOGIE, and i was deep into telling this story. i asked nate powell, for my money one of the best cartoonists alive, if he was into it. nate was, and he set off to work on the opening scene.
nate’s pencils set the tone and perfectly captured what we were going for. jason and i holed up in a crappy hotel in south jersey one weekend and laid out the structure of the book, including a perfectly realized ending. nate kept drawing, and i was set to finish up the script. then a guy i loved killed himself and i was lost for awhile, and the last thing i could do was write anything, and nate had other books to draw, and sam went on the shelf. here’s what nate did for the opening scene…
i’m proud of this scene. maybe one day we’ll get back to it. for now, this is what it is.
– chris stevens