FRY DAY NIGHT VIDEOH-OH’S ‘Michael Jerkson – Beat Up’


This series of music video parodies were originally published in ‘Rock Video Magazine’ back in 1984-1986.

Rock Video Magazine circa 1984-1986

Rock Video Magazine circa 1984-1986

A lot of people may not know this, but…I was a professional artist back then, heavily influenced by Mad Magazine. These comics are pretty old, dating back to 1984, but I’ve taken care of most of the original artwork & issues, and scanned them to share with you…This is the first time they’ve been seen by anyone in a long time. I don’t think they’ve dated much…some are still pretty funny to me. Some may even be more humorous now than they were 20 years ago, since the original subject matter is now a part of 80’s history. But what’s REALLY cool is unlike in the 80’s when these were originally published…NOW I can post a YouTube link to the original video along with my spoof just in case you’ve never seen it. That should make these even more fun!

I had graduated art school (SVA), and was doing freelance for a few years before doing this comic. It was always a dream of mine to work for ‘Cracked’, or ‘MAD’ magazine along side some heroes of mine like Jack Davis & Mort Drucker. But those stables were on the serious lock down!
Even ‘Crazy’ over at Marvel turned me down several times!

So, I had to create my own niche, and my own avenues to get my work published. ‘Rock Video’ was a new magazine being published by Starlog Press.Tthe people who did ‘Starlog’ magazine which had already put 2 previous issues on the stands. I had a few pieces published in starlog and a few of its sister publications a few years prior…So I was comfortable calling their offices and makeing an appointment with the art director to view my work even though ‘Rock Video’ had no art or cartoons.

Fry Day Night Video-Oh's Splash

I’ve  always loved incorporating Music themes into my art. I suppose it made up for the times I wasn’t actually playing or performing music myself. I always worked with music playing in the background…so it was natural for me to do art..about music…

The 80’s were the dawn of the Music Video age, and of course Michael Jackson’sThriller‘ changed the game on Music Video. ‘Beat it’ was HUGE & so was NBC’s weekly Video show ‘Friday Night Videos‘ which often premiered the hottest new videos. So naturally, I wanted to have a little fun with them both and wrote this one off spoof for my portfolio.

Michael Jerkson – Beat Up

This was the first ‘Fry Day Night Videoh-oh’ I produced, and the first of the series published for ‘Rock Video Magazine’ back in 1984.
(Hmm… The first Videoh-oh parody..and the birth of the Macintosh…’84 was a good year…wonder if there’s a connection there…)

Rock Video editor, Danny Fields read ‘Beat Up’, loved it, and bought it on the spot, asking if I could do a regular series of parodies for the magazine. And that’s how this whole thing started. I had complete freedom to write whatever I wanted. The magazine never knew who I was going to take on or how. No one ever said, ‘No Gene…You can’t do that’. (Although I did get a few letters from artists like Michael Jackson’s fans who wrote that they didn’t appreciate their hero being called ‘Micheal Jerkson’), but those were a few exceptions. We laughed it off, and went on to the next superstar to goof on. Trust me, I love and respect all of the artists I spoofed, and If I took the time to parody them…that meant they were at the top of the game. But just because you were the biggest superstar in the 80’s didn’t mean you were safe from getting ‘Fried’ in my comics!
This parody of Micheal Jackson’s ‘Beat it’ video was done long before I’d ever heard of Weird Al,…and his parodies like ‘Eat It’ or ‘Fat’ usually had more to do with food than they did with the artist being parodied.
Perhaps Al was playing it safe…But I think I did what I think most people actually wanted to see happen to MJ after confronting those hoods in the ‘Beat It’ video.

Just in case you’ve been living on mars for the last 25 years and have NEVER seen the original ‘Beat it’ Video…here’s a link:

Beat Up Pg.1

Beat Up Pg.1

Beat Up Pg.2

Beat Up Pg.2

Beat Up Pg.3

Beat Up Pg.3


3 Responses to “FRY DAY NIGHT VIDEOH-OH’S ‘Michael Jerkson – Beat Up’”

  1. Gene,

    I grew up drawing “Popeye” and reading Marvel comic. I wish I had known about your talent to pass along incentives to my son Jarrell. He was doing the illustrations and cartoons for his high school newspaper (1996). Like you, at that time he combinied his music with his drawings.

    This is great! I like your illustrations and timing of the frames.


  2. Great Content,Great Website. I will bookmark your page for future reference to this topic.

  3. This is a really great website. The layout and design is very easy to navigate and the info is superb. Keep up the good work!!!!

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