In his forthcoming comic book-format memoir, Don “DJ” Arneson will most certainly cover the topic of Lobo, the first comic book headlined by a black character that he created in 1965 for Dell Comics. But per an interview in the Lichtfield County Times, a much larger strand will be the impact of a tragic event in 1940:
In line with some popular superheroes’ origins, Arneson lost his father when he was five years old. “My father’s death was the defining moment,” he said. “It ruled my life. It was a hot summer day, your dad goes away. He was killed in a car wreck.”
Arneson said he compartmentalized the event in his mind. “I resolved it would stay on one side,” he said. “In this way I separated myself from reality. Not in a psychological way but I created a separate reality and an opportunity to see the world from two viewpoints. A dead father was the driving impetus for what I do.”
Arneson isn’t sure about the claims that Lobo, illustrated by Tony Tallarico and featuring a black cowboy on the cover, failed after just two issues because stores refused to unpack and display the shipped title. For his work, the Connecticut resident was recently honored with a 2015 Lifetime Achivement Award at the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention (ECBACC) in Philadelphia.
He told Times contributor N.F. Ambery that he is currently searching for an illustrator to draw up the comic book panels for his memoir.
[Photo of Michael Dennis with Arneson at the recent ECBACC event via: Instagram]