Complete Procedureson December 31, 2011 at 8:35 am
The series this one opens up is probably my favorite. It seems that after Doc rescued Jones in the desert I got busy trying to see if Jones would get a job at Doc’s shop. Instead we got completely diverted by a ride in the desert. I forgot that the strip is about a guy who rides, and also knows how to wrench. The shop stuff gave me a chance to show that, in spite of the fact that Jones’ bike pretty much dismantled itself, he kind of a drunk-savant when it comes to anything mechanical. But it was time to get out on the road and ride–I was getting bored and needed to get some riding art in there, put Jones on the highway again.
It’ probably worth noting that at the time of this strip, I hadn’t ridden in over five years. Since then my trusty shovelhead breathed fire again and took me for a few rides. Currently it’s been down again since September, but I do hope to get’r running today.
This strip also borrowed from the literature of my youth. Some of you may also remember the original Idiot’s Guide, the Idiot Book as my father called it. This was a book that became a standard for me in terms of a great auto manual. John Muir’s How to Keep Your Volkswagon Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot is not only a definitive source on its mechanical topic, it is a monumental work of art. Apparently still in print, if Amazon is to be believed. The diagrams and illustrations were inky in the style of Freak Brothers comics, and they were accurate and three-dimensional. Better than a photograph, really, since in art you can emphasize important features much more effectively than in a photo, even if you are a Photoshop master.
And you could enjoy the process of learning everything possible about the v-dub engine. I’ve been known to enjoy studying various manuals associated with my shovelhead, but I have yet to see the subject covered in such artistic and mechanical detail as well as the Idiot Book does. EasyRiders magazine put out a few guides that could be thought of as supplementals, illustrated by Hal Robinson, creator of Miraculous Mutha, long-time illustrator for Easy Rider Magazine, and mentor to Don “Thunder” Baggett, who may be the only artist around today who has successfully carried on Robinson’s success in art and storytelling with biker mags.
Back to the Idiot Book, this masterful tome was illustrated by Peter Aschwanden, a New Mexico artist. This guy has some terrific art. Unfortunately he passed in 2005, but the legacy of his work extends beyond his motor illustrations into fine art as well. A quick search show that, among many other things, also helped illustrate a two-volume set on Harley ’41–’59 OHV Big Twin Engines. At a hunnerd seventy five bucks, I don’t reckon the two left in stock are jumping off the shelf, but who knows.