by Bungalow Bob

Moving Target, Spring 1997, issue 23

Messenger cartoons tend be wish-lists of various gory vengeances inwhich car-drivers, cops, security guards & receptionists receive theirrichly deserved just desserts at the hands of the omnipotent messenger.Max Speed fits a heat seeking missile to his bike and obliterates a cabon Oxford St; Messenger 666 consigns another erring cabbie to his maker,this time on Market St and with a flaming D-Lock. This kind of thing, evenwhen it is executed as well as Rob Lancaster drew Max Speed can get a littletiresome. Surely messenger imagination stretches to more than grisly deathsfor erring road-users? Fortunately, it does.

I first saw Messenger 29 in the Moving Target office about 7 years ago.He comes from NYC, but is surprisingly unbrash.

Jay Jones, his creator says that "anyone can kill & hate. Doingsomething positive is a bit harder. Messenger 29 doesn't have super powers;he is a hero in his own right. Jay worked full time as a messenger forabout 2 years in 83/84, stopping because "I got hit a few times andthat made me pretty soft and tender. But I didn't stop nobody actuallystops. I have worked on and off for the last 12 years, as well as mechanic-ingin Enoch's (legendary NYC messenger hang-out featured in issue 2 of M29).But that's funny 'cos most of the time I'm more like a bartender, justlistening to their stories and wondering how many are true." He startedas a messenger because: you don't have a boss looking over your shoulderthe whole time. The whole city is your office. Sure, on a bad day it 'sbad, but on a good day it's really good. "

The bad things, according to Jay, are that "people look down theirnoses at you. You're always in the wrong. Stuff like, you know, a car hitsa messenger and the messenger ends up paying. I used to think, 'hey, it‘salmost like being black,’ and then I'd think 'but hey I am black'.

Messenger 29 shows Jay‘s admiration for Marvel Comics Jack Kirby, andhas been appearing as a strip in NYC cab mag Taxi Talk and twice as a full-lengthcomic, five years separating the two issues 29 rides the classic East Coastfixed gear setup but the actual bike "a disjointed consistency...most of the time it looks like a Kestrel but I try and squeeze as manynames as I can on there in the hope of one day finding a guy who hasn'tbeen laid in his whole life and maybe getting 29 sponsorship...

Perhaps the most distinctive thing about 29 is his helmet and shoulderpads: the helmet is an Army motorcycle helmet that 29 found in a surplusstore but the pads are hockey pads...there was this guy called Joey Love(who is now working in Chicago) who used to wear all that hockey gear,way before the X-men [notorious NYC messengers most famous for shootingoff their mouths at the first CMWC] started doing it. I based the way that29 looks on him, even though 29 is not nearly as crazy as him. Joey calledhimself 29 after that... He was crazy, he got into an argument with a guyonce and challenged him to race the wrong way up 5th Ave. all the way tothe Park (about 5 miles)."

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