This year (2015) marks 20 years the beginning of what many people in and outside the Australian radio industry label as the best ever drive time show broadcasted on the airwaves.
Yes, can you believe it’s been that long? April 2015 will mark the month of the first ever episode broadcasted on the 2DAY Austereo Network from the famous FOX FM radio studios in Melbourne. consisting of D-Generation / Late Show graduates Tony Martin and Mick Molloy.
What began as a small drive time show to tickle your funny bone, and ill conceived concepts spoken between songs from Dire Straits and La Bouche (true!), the unstoppable duo roared to popularity and to the number one position as highest rated drive show anyone has heard of in Australia. The show was that popular, many bootleg tapes were made by listeners (we may release one or two here for reference down the track) and 3 x ARIA Award winning comedy albums (Brown Album, Poop Chute & Eat Your Peas), Martin/Molloy tapped into the Australian listener’s head to create a theatre of the mind, which is a pure art form.
One person who turned this art form into actual art into paper form, was Melbourne artist Dillon Naylor. Beginning with self-published comics of his own in the 1980s, his craft work developed into other comics such as Da ‘n’ Dill, and Pop Culture & Two Minute Noodles. While Martin/Molloy ran from 1995 until 1998, Naylor came up with the idea of making a comic based on the Martin/Molloy radio show and characters associated with the guys, around 1996 – 1997. Being a major fan since the D-Generation days, even D-Gen’s Stupidman and The Late Show’s Bargearse got the ink-to-pad treatment through the printers at Cowtown Comics.
Only three issues were created, making them collectors items for the fans and Australian comic collectors alike. I’m not exactly sure of the cost value these days, but less talk and more foolish behaviour… I spoke to Dillon to find out more about the man behind the pen.
What is your artistic background?
Nothing too formal. I taught myself to draw from studying a million comic books and did a couple of years of TAFE art courses.
Before you started working on Martin/Molloy comics, what is/was your previous comic work?
I created countless pages of comics throughout Primary school and by the end of High, I was contributing to publications and self publishing comics which I’d distribute by walking around the city to record and comic shops. In the 90s, I stuck a deal to produce comic books called ‘Da ‘n’ Dill’ for mass distribution around the country through a showbag company and by the 2000s I was doing colour comics for kids magazines like K-Zone.
How did the idea of creating a comic based on Tony and Mick come across?
I grew up with ‘The D-Generation’ tv shows and the ‘D-Gen Breakfast Show’ on Triple M. I quickly recognised that Tony ‘The Fatman’ Martin was an especially clever writer and man of a million voices and thought it was a crime these moments were so fleeting so I used to tape the show each morning. (I still have the cassettes in a box. I understand that there are not many recordings of this great show in existence so I plan to digitize and make available.) When the MM show was halfway through it’s run, I was living in a house about five blocks away and would always drive past slowly to look at the shed on the roof and try see them arrive for work. I was co-producing a magazine called ‘Drivel’ at the time and we managed to secure an interview with them. I did a drawing of them both to run with it and after that I had the idea to do a comic based on them and the goings-on at the station, interweaved with the fictitious characters they make up.
How difficult was it to get Martin/Molloy comics off the ground?
I did a complete story and intercepted both of them in the elevator of Triple M, giving me a captive audience to deliver the pitch. They were scared at first, then registered mild amusement and took the mock-up and said they’d get back to me. Many months elapsed and then Mick rang, out of the blue and apologised for forgetting about it and basically gave me permission. They explained they couldn’t contribute anything for it but were happy to let my imagination run wild. I had to raise a big sum of money quickly to get the minimum number needed for newsagent distribution but it sold very well and was successful enough to keep going.
Was it hard to draw inspiration on getting ‘theatre of the mind’ to paper?
No, not at all. I had always had clear visions in my head about how their various characters looked. I even included some D-Gen Brekky Show characters for older fans, like Michael Veitch’s semi-senile war veteran charcter, Murray Beckworth and and Santo’s Italian hoon, Gino. I also adapted some of Tony’s D-Geb Brekky Show FM Playhouse radio serials that I transcribed from my cassettes. Tony even fished out his old Spirax notebooks and gave me photocopies of the actual handwritten scripts
What research did you have to do to get the caricature models on Tony, Mick, Bargearse and others?
This is pre Google Image Search days, so I collected photos from the many interviews in magazines. They are pretty distictive looking guys and my drawings are very cartoony, so it was easy to get a likeness.
Why were there only 3 issues produced?
I wanted to do more but I guess it was difficult to keep coming up with the print money in advance as the returns were very slow coming back. I was selling advertising on the back and inside covers but in the end I wasn’t business-minded enough. I was too busy getting drunk and going to see bands.
I noticed issue 1 was heavily based on M/M for obvious reasons, issue 2 was half M/M and half Bargearse, then issue 3 was heavily Bargearse and minimal M/M. Was this intentional or was it easier to write Bargearse storylines?
I guess Bargearse was very identifiable and got me a lot of feedback, so I decided it was a good way to hook in a larger audience to keep everything afloat. And yes, it was easier to write for. It was hard to think of additional stories centred around Mick and Tony but In hindsight, there were lots of other things I could have done, really. I started planting stories in the back with my own characters, ‘Pop Culture and Two Minute Noodles’ and the M/M comic transformed into that on the newstands. I still have new Bargearse comic stories sitting in my desk but don’t know what to do with them.
Do you have any back issues available to purchase still?
I have since sold all M/M issue one but do have some of 2 and 3 left which I eBay on occasion.
Thanks to Dillon for taking the time for the chat. Stay tuned to eBay if you want to grab what you can find.