Did You Catch Damian’s Rad Interview?
Here’s our recap of ‘Radical Rick’ creator Damian Fulton’s sitdown with HARO bikes. We also count down the best plot twist moments in Radical Rick.
“Kids,” Damian begins, “gather around the fire, and let me tell you about the beginnings of BMX…and Radical Rick!”
From there the radness simmers into a slow boil.
When our friends at HARO Bikes sat Damian down for his thoughts on how Radical Rick began, how he evolved alongside BMX, and why he’s still around today, we couldn’t resist eavesdropping.
We’ll let Damian speak for himself (and for the generally silent Radical Rick). But if you’re all about the scrolling, here’s some interview gems.
On what makes Radical Rick special
“Radical Rick is really every kid. You know that moment when you see something and you imagine how cool it would be to conquer it on your bike? The difference is ‘Radical Rick’ was gifted, and cursed, with an over productive rad gland… it’s insatiable.
Anything that looks like it's possible and should be hit, will be hit.”
On ‘Stay Rad, Don’t be a Wimp!’
“Stay rad, don’t be a wimp began as punk rock… but now it’s a call to really live and to keep pushing. You have to keep pushing.”
On the evolution in BMX
“Radical Rick evolved with the times. From dirt tracks to giant jumps, from flatland freestyle to pool riding, Radical Rick reflected the history of the sport because he never aged. The sport grew up… but he’ll always be that fifteen year old kid with a learner’s permit.”
On smoking the competition
“Radical Rick couldn’t be topped. If someone pulled off a trick, like a flip in ‘Rad the movie…’ Radical Rick did two flips. It’s just the beauty of pencils, ink, paper, and imagination.”
We just love it.
In the words of the orphan Oliver Twist, all we can mutter is ‘please sir, can I have some more?’
It’s the same feeling that Damian’s twisting, turning, cliff-hangers gave us every month. And on that nostalgic note…
Twist, Turns, and Gotcha Moments
Loving Radical Rick means loving the unpredictable. Try as we may, there’s no putting Radical Rick, Mean Inc., and the twisting, turning, air-grabbing world of Crushed Crank Canyon in a box.
Of course, there’s some things we could always depend on.
Rad cameos featuring the best riders of all time.
Radical Rick saving the day.
MX Mug taking credit.
Butch and Skuzzer claiming premature victory… only to see it turn to ash in their sweaty, cheating hands.
Spike and Bonnie running circles around everyone else with speed and brain power.
Secret messages and plenty of Easter Eggs.
Most days, all that was enough to make us want to go out and shred track until our wheels burst. As if all that wasn’t enough, through comic after comic, Damian honed his ability to top off Radical Rick with a jarring plot twist, a surprise turn of events, or a ‘Gotcha’ moment we never saw coming.
Here’s our favorites.
Revenge… I Can Feel it In My Bones
February - July of ‘89
If the classic Superhero sagas teach us anything, it’s that a good, faithfully reused origin story is great fodder for surprise revenge.
To that end, baddie Thrasher Bones (Radical Rick’s first enemy) and his multi-episode revenge tour is right up there with Red Skull, Magneto, Bane, and the Joker. Well, if not right up there, then perfectly rad enough.
In Part III of ‘The Roots of Radical Rick’ a cocky, teenager Thrasher dares a young kid with an overactive rad gland to his very first race. The kid wins, of course, and the rest is history—and in a kind of mea culpa, the humiliated Thrasher shaves his head and joins the military.
Years later, a mysterious get-out-of-school note lures Mug and Radical Rick to a BMX contest at an abandoned pool… where a hidden shooter comes at them with bullets and arrows (at the next crime scene, it’s RPG’s, rockets and a WWII era nuke or two…) After putting two and two together, our heroes head over to the military barracks, where a brusque Five Star General tells them private Bones, the same one who joined years ago after a racing humiliation, has gone AWOL.
Sure enough, Thrasher Bones is out for revenge.
The big showdown happens on an offshore tanker… and only with Mr. Tea (sponsored by Lipton) as backup does the equation tilt in Radical Rick’s favor. If not for the A Team and a conveniently placed ship’s vent that becomes a straightjacket, we might just pity da fool who got his revenge.
A Mysterious Saboteur Saves the Day
September of ‘83 to February of ‘84
Drawing from an origin story is one way to surprise us.
But introducing an attractive, hyper-intelligent, near-love interest as a disguised, double-agent gets the job done as well. With Radical Rick strapped down for a Dr. Frankenstein like ‘Radectomy’ just upstairs, it’s up to Mug and Spike to break out of Purin’ Flashin’s dungeon and come to the rescue.
Little do they know that the rogue footsoldier helping them—until the grand reveal, we think it’s one of Flashin’s goons who suddenly grew a conscience… and a McGuyver-like knack for problem solving—is actually…
In one unforgettable panel, Damian flips the story (as well as our gender expectations) on its head… or better yet, rightside up. And with Bonnie’s glasses, blue eyes, and ice blond, Joan Jett-inspired hair peeking out of the overcoat, we share Spike, Skuzzer, and Flashin’s look of surprise.
From that point on, and with the sole exception of getting one ‘Radical Richard’ to reciprocate her undying love, the calm, brainy, beauty of the Rad Squad never lets us down.
Hehe… Bonnie’s lesson is another gotcha moment.
April to June of ‘90
Trapped in a stretch limo, and suffocated with visions of wealth, fame, and grandiosity by a sleazy sports agent and his assistant, Radical Rick finds himself cornered in an all-too-real dilemma.
Sell out? Or stay focused, (albeit poor) and authentically devoted to the rad spirit of riding?
With a talent scout this close to blood-sucking flea, this one’s a no-brainer. In a moment that captures how we all feel about those who piggyback on BMX, or any rad activity as a way to get rich and famous, Radical Rick literally breaks himself out of there—fleeing temptation once and for all on an exercise bike with no wheels!
This short, three issue episode makes our list because the surprise ending really pops. Or should we say… pedals.
Saltwater Sabotage… and that One Time Radical Rick Surfed the Shark
July to September of ‘88
Fonzi jumped the shark.
As you might remember, that surprise brush with death is also Radical Rick’s first foray into surfing. After entering a contest with the bulging biceps of Butch Cartilage, the Radster (to no surprise) is dropping in, carving, and grabbing air with ease, in the same way he does on his bike.
Seeing that he’s no match for rad reflexes on water, Butch kicks below the belt… and in a way that sends a shiver down the spine of anyone who regularly heads to the water. From the safety of the pier, he dumps chunks of chum right into the lineup, then watches as some very hungry friends circle Radical Rick.
But this time, the ‘gotcha’ is on Butch.
Is there a better backfire in all of BMX than Radical Rick dropping in on a Jaws-sized shark and riding him to shore?
We haven’t looked, but we seriously doubt it.
In a final insult, Radical Rick wins the contest.
That’s the idea.
In the Radical Rick archives, there’s too many twists, turns, and ‘gotcha’ moments to chronicle. Good thing Damian’s hard at work on that complete Radical Rick book with the whole comic, start to finish.
We’ll see you on the track. And, oh yeah....STAY RAD!