The Last Rogues did not begin as a band name, it began as a bad novel written by a Nineteen-year-old furniture shipper. How do I know it’s bad even though I haven’t read it in over twenty years? Well, I wrote it, and I sucked at writing at the time so that’s a clue. But mainly because I can’t actually remember much of it. I remember the opening, and the main characters, and the central idea and I’m sure there’s a princess of some sort but that’s about it. I’m not ashamed of it, everybody sucks at first and it’s at least semi-coherent. But the question is how did it become a Band Name in the strip?
Panic. I didn’t grow up wanting to be in a band, I hadn’t written down hundreds of possible band names, it had never occurred to me to focus on it. But Rick was in a band, and I knew it had to have a good name to be as popular as the story needed them to be and the one thing that The Last Rogue (novel) had going for it was a good title so I yoinked it.
The problem was the word Rogue implied someone acting independently and that didn’t make sense with a band that’s (theoretically) supposed to be pulling in one direction. Then again lots of band names make no sense at all (the Rolling Stones are neither stones nor do they roll. Walkers, sure, I grant you, but no rollers yet) so it kind of fit.
Then there’s the mascot/logo/imprint of the Last Rogues, the arrogant, crooked-eyebrowed, smiling, cigar smoking ¾ smiley face. That too was designed for the Last Rogue Novel (it was the symbol painted on the nose cone of The Last Rogue’s spaceship meant to evoke the paintings on world war 2 airplanes) and easy enough to bring across. Heck, if I remember right I didn’t even redraw it the first time, I just cut it out and slapped it on Rick’s shirt.
Basically, The Last Rogues as Rick’s band’s name came about because I panicked and re-used a book title as a band name, then stole the logo from the book and gave it to Rick as well.
Two additional notes: I’m working on a cover for a book I plan on releasing in a few months called Dragon Assassins and one of the characters dresses all in black but, while it doesn’t come up specifically in the book, I realized he’s a hard rock/metal fan so I knew he’d be wearing a band shirt of some sort. Originally, I was going to swipe an Iron Maiden shirt, then I decided I didn’t want to get sued, then I was going to draw an entirely new shirt for an entirely new band, then I looked at the picture and realized that’s a lot of work for a piece of a cover that’d be less than pinky-sized, so I ended up just taking the Last Rogue symbol and Name and splashing it on the shirt. This worked but also made me realize something: Dodge the Bullet and Dragon Assassins occupy the same universe. No crossovers are likely but the idea they could meet tickles me.
The second note: After I named Rick’s Band officially I was looking at one of my old sketchbooks and was staring at the random words I’d written on the cover years ago. I honestly didn’t know what they meant or why I wrote them, or what they were about and it had always bugged me. One sentence was ‘it worked six times and then stopped,’ and that one I had figured out a few years before (the idea was a classic colt peacemaker had found its way into a fantasy setting and the ‘magic’ weapon had launched a revolution but the user couldn’t let people know it no longer worked so it existed as a bluff and a symbol of his new-found power). The other thing written on that sketchbook was the phrase; Har’ Alc’hol. There was nothing there to figure out. No clues, no context, no idea why I’d written it down. But having named Rick’s band it came to me; Har’ Alc’hol was a band name (a drunk saying Hard Alcohol). I had a band name ready to go and completely forgot about it.
Thank god for that. The Last Rogues is a better band name.
Even if it exists because of panic and laziness.
Thanks for reading,