Happy Elvis Week 1991!

It’s Elvis Week here in Memphis, when the city welcomes Elvis fans from far and wide to celebrate the week in which he died (don’t worry, the week of his birth gets plenty of attention, too, from what I understand). While I’m not diving whole-heartedly into it this year, I am fascinated by the array of events scheduled. Just like I have a kitschy fascination for Vegas jumpsuit Elvis, a fascination that may not be fully appreciated in this city.

Like with many artists who lived in the twentieth century, Elvis has appeared in my work from time to time. One of my favorite works featuring the King was my graduate promo piece from when I completed my illustration degree from KU waaaay back in 1991…



At the time, I was inking a lot of my work with a stick (yes, a stick), which gives the piece its intentionally rough finish. I really liked how it dressed up with Pantone process color film, and I’ve tried to recreate its CMYK glory as best I can with RGB. Of course, being me, I also included a story component with this image (based, of course, on the famous photo by Ollie Atkins), a story that went something like this:

See, it all started when Lex Luthor fired an atomic missile at the heart of Las Vegas (where Elvis happened to be performing in a sold-out show in the Gila Room of the Sands). Naturally, Superman arrived to stop the fiendish plot of his arch foe just in the nick of time. Of course, when Elvis heard what happened, he invited the Man of Tomorrow backstage to thank him in his own inimitable way: “Donut, Superman?” “No thanks,” he responded, arms and legs akimbo, “I need only the air I breathe to sustain me.” “Well, um, then hows about a Cadillac?”

Well, that was that until a few months later when Superman (in the guise of his everyday identity as mild-mannered reporter (then GBS-TV news anchor) Clark Kent) received a special invitation from the President of the United States himself to attend some sort of luncheon and awards reception kind of thing to thank him for all his hard work in the service of truth, justice, blah blah blah… Now, while he may have been the Man of Steel, he sure didn’t have a stomach of steel, and dealing with the President always bothered Superman’s ulcer (and Kryptonians have really strong stomach acids, don’t forget), so he needed an excuse to get out of it. Fortunately for him, Superman has these incredible powers of total recall, and this enabled him to remember that, while he had passed up Elvis’ offer of the Cadillac, he did accept Elvis’ promise to help him out if he ever needed a favor.

So one short call to Graceland (and a story about getting called suddenly out of the galaxy on a Justice League mission) later, Superman breathed a super sigh of relief, and Elvis was on his way to the White House…




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