The Library #1
It’s not uncommon that people read Johnny as “some-dumb-jock-bro”, and while that is indeed the world that he grew up in, as well as the world that molded his mannerisms, it was not the world that defined his life. When Johnny was young, fitting in was important. His family was poor, his mom was sick and his dad had run off, not the ideal for any American kid growing up, but doubly so for Johnny. As a first-generation American, Johnny was held to very high ideals of success, and his mother, as a Japanese immigrant, not only had high expectations for her and Johnny but was also held to high expectations herself by her adopted community, expectations that she had already failed in many of their eyes, between being abandoned by Johnny’s Father and terminally sick.
While Johnny found it difficult to fit in with the community’s families, it did give him one advantage. His father was a very big man, naturally athletic, tall, and muscular, and in this way, Johnny took after his father.
For a while, he found it easier to move amongst his jock friends than his community, even if that meant putting up with the subtle racism and the sometimes-not-so-subtle racism. At least there he knew where he stood. At home and on the streets of Arkham’s Japantown, Johnny never really knew who was nice and who was judging, and who would turn on him at a moment’s notice, with the white jocks at school, at least he knew they were all assholes.
As the years went on his loyalties drove the wedge further, until highschool ended and all of a sudden kids were no longer forced to be around one another, he found himself without a metaphorical home.
In high school, the guitar was also something that Johnny picked up. At the time he figured it’d get him in with some girls. It did, but in the end, he really found himself tuning out and getting lost in the chords. He wasn’t particularly good, he knew that, but he liked the melodic and percussive repetition of power chords, there was something both cathartic and epiphanius about it.
In his metaphorical homelessness, he scoured coffee shops and bars, trying to play a little and never finding much. For a while, he had a bit of popularity with the band Las Víctimas Nuevas. On one Friday night at CHUDs Coffee, a member of the band broke a string on his only guitar in the middle of the show. To fill time, Johnny played and sang A New England to the bored audience. They watched for a minute, but it wasn’t long until all of them went to the bathroom, or ordered drinks, or played pool… almost all of them. A few rows back in the dark audience area were four people, all wearing black. Three standing, and in front, sitting in a chair, the fourth. Ivan Rocket.
And that is how Johnny left his band and joined Ivan Rocket and the Blackness Between the stars. All it took was one statement and one question from Ivan himself. After the show, Ivan and his ebony-clad compatriots approached Johnny as he was packing up and Ivan said, “I love the way you ride those crispy power cords, such magic. You wouldn’t wanna come play with us would ya?” That night Johnny packed his stuff from the stage to the RV and across the country they went.