#11: James James


Comic artist, guitarist in UMX, late 90's - mid 00's

James James was the bad boy of the New Zealand comics scene. He described himself better than I ever could: "James James is... the last honest scumbag in Auckland City, loveable rogue, literary genius and ultimately talentless musician who will use his reputation as an evil arsehole to get his way." (from Officer Pup, 2002). We used to crash with each other whenever he'd come to Wellington or I'd go to Auckland, and together with his partner in crime Tim Molloy I had some of the wildest nights of my life. I have so many crazy drinking tales but my favourite James story actually comes from a comic convention in Auckland. It goes something like this:

We'd been sitting there all day trying to sell our books. Our only entertainment had been watching James confuse and generally terrorize the hordes of sweaty nerds and moronic snotty kids. He'd already been kicked out of the convention once for abusing the guy who played Chewbacca but now he was getting bored again.

Across from us is a stall for the radio station bfm. Behind their stall we notice an oversized mascot costume in the shape of their logo and before we knew it James has stolen the suit and is running around banging into people and stalls, generally causing chaos. In all the mess is someone in a giant Pikachu costume handing out m&ms to children and James starts getting in his face, pushing him around. Here's where it gets awesome.

A crowd starts to gather as James/b and Pikachu start to tussle. Across the room the local wrestling show is packing down, but their promoter spies a chance for one more drawcard. Next thing he is standing in the ring, on the microphone. "Ladies and Geeentlemeeeeen...". Now James/b and Pikachu are climbing into the ring, the lights are going and they're being introduced as the large crowd grows bigger still.

The bell rings and James/b starts pounding on the helpless yellow thing. He has him by the ear and is leading him around, throwing him into the corner and punching him right in his cutesy Japanese eyes. Just going to town, it's a demolition. One, two, three, the bell rings and James is the winner! Pikachu takes the head off his costume and underneath is a small boy - 11 or 12 maybe - and he is sobbing uncontrollably. This seems to make James even prouder. The crowd goes wild!