The guy in the tie-dye shirt and multicolored jeans looked as excited as any comic fan who had the chance to tour Torpedo Comics, one of the valley’s most eclectic comic book shops. He talked comics with staff members, name-checked a few of the comic book figures depicted in the store’s collectibles and just seemed happy to be among other fans of sequential art.
Then Steve Aoki took a seat to autograph copies of his own comic book, “Neon Future,” further solidifying the Grammy-nominated music producer and DJ’s foray into a new art form.
The comic book series, which reflects Aoki’s interest in technology, is set in the near future, when technology is illegal. A civil war is brewing between technologically augmented and nonaugmented humans, while a resistance movement called Neon Future (a name Aoki also has used for several of his albums) takes a middle ground.
That already gives the story a novel twist from the usual brand of sci-fi dystopianism in which, Aoki says, “technology is bad, technology is going to kill us or oppress us. I really look forward to a future where we use technology to enhance our lives.”
There’s even a character inspired by Aoki, Kita Sovee (an anagram of Aoki’s name), whom Aoki describes as the story’s “Obi-Wan.”
“He’s definitely not Steve Aoki,” he says, although “he looks like me, for sure.”
Aoki says creating a comic book is similar to collaborating with other musicians and performers, with “the best minds coming on, writing stories and building what the story’s going to look like.”
Tom Bilyeu, “Neon Future” co-creator, says Aoki “knows what he’s good at and wants to work with other talented people and wants to create space for others to shine. So it has been really fun.”
Chi Ebiware from Farmington, Michigan, stopped in for a book and an autograph during a trip to Las Vegas to see Aoki perform at Hakkasan. (He’s also scheduled to perform at this weekend’s Electric Daisy Carnival). She’s a fan of Aoki’s music, but discovered his comic book before his music.
“I think I probably saw it on social media,” she says, and since then has “learned more about him. His music is right up my alley, so I actually discovered more about him through the comics.”