The Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club of “The Wild Area” is composed of former leader Iron Mask and minions, including Vudu, Yango, Flek, and Gandy (who looks an awful like Flek in the opening sequence of JO #137), heading the “dropout society” which inhabits the tree city called “Habitat.” They rove on their futuristic three-wheeled motorized hogs over the Zoomway, looking for adventure and whatever comes their way (apparently). Jimmy O., after beating the tar out of Outside boss-man Iron Mask, temporarily becomes revered head man of the mobilized cadre.
Overall, though, The Outsiders are more than just a biker gang: they are leaders and protectors of a huge forest commune of young people, hippies really (true nature’s children?), who have taken over a vast wooden metropolis built and abandoned by The Hairies, whom we will learn more about quite soon.
No doubt, Jack was riffing on the then-wildly popular movie, Easy Rider, and perhaps Roger Corman biker movies in general with The Outsiders. He had recently moved from the East Coast to make his mark in the Golden State and the prevailing the zeitgeist of youth culture certainly was influencing him. Motorcycle riders had been synonymous with freedom and rebellion in American culture since the hit 1951 movie (which made Marlon Brando a breakout star), The Wild One, and California’s Hell’s Angels, most famous (infamous) of the nation’s motorcycle clubs were becoming a significant quasi-criminal force on the West Coast by the early 1970s. Hunter S. Thompson has written his 1966 first-person account of traveling with head hog Sonny Berger’s crew in Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, which was a popular paperback. And less than a year before JO #133, everybody was aware of the Dec. 6, 1969, notorious event at Altamont Speedway occurred, where club members killed a man at a Rolling Stones concert, famously chronicled a year later in the film Gimme Shelter. Less than six months after Woodstock, the pinnacle of “music, peace and love,” the hippy movement was already starting to turn dark…
[Patrick Ford in a reply below notes that Roz Kirby, the indomitable wife of the King, told John Morrow in a TJKC interview, that The Outsiders are based on motorcross racers that annoyed the heck out of the couple when they lived in their first California home… But the costuming of the biker gang: that’s GOTTA be based on outlaw motorcycle clubs, right?]
It’s interesting to note that his approach to the counter-culture was one of curiosity and not without sympathy. As to be seen in the days to come on this page, especially with the “Hairies,” one suspects this cigar-chomping, “deese ‘n’ doose” former East Side Kid, U.S. Army veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, felt a kinship with young people of the “Generation Gap” era, not necessarily a common empathy for those of his age.
“Yeah, darlin’, gonna make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space”
Steppenwolf, “Born to be Wild”