Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Meet John Doe Dabber and The Coupon Kid

For years I've been ruminating about two outlandish characters, Jimmy Coops, the Coupon Kid and John Doe Dabber. Both will be showcased in my Great American Crime Novel, The Caramel Twist Cootch Dance.

The Coupon Kid was raised in an orphanage during the fifties alongside his pal, a would-be gallery painter called John Doe Dabber by his closest friends, although he paints under other names. Dabber paints in the art style du jour, for which he creates the perfect matching pseudonym. During his minimalist/geometric period John Doe was Haarvard Hammonds, while during a dark exploration of the human condition he signed his scabrous canvases with the improbable Bernie Auschwitz. John Doe is a facile art chameleon, always changing and adapting, leaving his past behind.

James "Jimmy Coops" Cooper was nicknamed the Coupon Kid as a cruel taunt by the other orphans because he "wasted" his dimes and nickels on any and all of the many self-improvement courses and other dubious educational pitches hawked in the back of pulps, comics, true detective mags, muscle mags, and their low-brow ilk. The thing is, the Kid took the undertakings seriously, and as a result, he actually can hypnotize his subjects, land beautiful dates using clever pick-up lines, repair electronics, pick locks, and predictably, he has the buff physique of Charles Atlas himself. The Kid's also mastered a number of obscure Asian fighting techniques, and he's learned to play guitar like Chet Atkins. A self-made kid, he paid for it all selling American Greeting Cards and Grit. Today The Kid can be found haunting the self-help shelves at used book stores. He's read all the Complete Idiot's Guide and For Dummies books, and more. The Kid is a self-help savant.

Master of Mind and Body, Doc Savage inspired Jimmy Coops to be all that he could be.
John Doe bought Jimmy a Doc Savage Award but other kids stole it before John could present it to Jimmy. The medal was never found.