Ever wondered why nowadays almost all my characters are named after geographical locations? Well, it all started back in 2008… with a little drabble called Dalston Rocks!
Set in the Los Niños Meses 2008 canon, it follows December who one day stumbles across the “Dalston Party” (originally it was the “Really Cool Party Which Turns Up The City”, but I thought that’d be too long to fit in the title, so I just shortened it to the “Dalston Party”). Curious, he finds out what or who Dalston is – an almost exact doppelganger of December, just named after a district of East London, wearing a pink Santa hat and with more villainous tendencies.
Initially believing Dalston to be a hero (although December can actually see he’s a villain all the way through), people across the city cheer him on whenever he appears, even while he’s tackling December head-on to the ground and trying to tie him up. At one point he mocks December’s “bathroom problem” by claiming that he’s gone in his trousers on top of him, which takes December somewhat by surprise, until he finds out it’s true. He obviously berates him for this, complaining that now he’s wet too.
At the end of the day, Dalston reveals to a shocked crowd that he actually was a villain all along. December pretends to be shocked, even though he actually saw through Dalston’s ‘disguise’ from the beginning, and the crowd say they didn’t know he was a villain – they thought he was a hero. Dalston then delivers another bombshell – he’s actually a part of the infamous ‘Hackney Boys’ gang, and laughs as he runs off to cause some trouble with his ‘friends’. (This set up the plot for the Hackney Boys movie, rather uncreatively named Hackney Boys: The Movie.)
So this drawing could be considered episode artwork of a sort for the whole ‘Dalston’ incident. All the members of the ‘crowd’ (I say a ‘crowd’, but there’s only six or seven members here) are Adventure People, many of them ‘founding members’ – classics like John the Chihuahua dog, Girassa the giraffe, Puggie the pug dog and Swannie the swan. They’ve fallen for the ruse of thinking of Dalston as a ‘hero’ rather than the villain that he really is, hence all the signs sporting positive slogans aimed at him and the repetitive cheering of his name. December, in the far background, can’t see what all the fuss is about, and he rightly senses something suspicious about Dalston.
Two more Adventure People appear as both a member of the crowd and as the bouncers – Dinotenna the alien dinosaur and Poplar the herb alien. They are from the Ruby & Amber incarnation of The Adventure People, not the original series.
Though the whole drabble with Dalston was only originally meant to be a one-off, it was the thing about naming him after an East London neighbourhood that sparked something in my mind. It was about to turn into something a lot bigger than I’d ever imagined in my whole life…