Transcribed by Christian Beranek and Tony DiGerolamo
**Note for my readers: Super Frat is a popular webcomic by Tony (The Simpsons) DiGerolamo and Chris (Dracula vs. King Arthur, Sidekick) Moreno. It’s Animal House meets the Justice League!**
Christian Beranek and Tony DiGerolamo recently won a lawsuit against the Federal Government under the Freedom of Information Act to unseal their files. Since the late 80’s, the FBI had been keeping tabs on the duo for two unrelated reasons. Since 2003, Beranek has been publishing, DiGerolamo has been writing and artist, Chris Moreno has illustrated the popular webcomic, Super Frat. Due to the raunchiness of the subject matter and DiGerolamo’s penchant for skewering political figures in the strip, the FBI kicked up their surveillance of the duo. What follows are the highlights from their previously confidential files:
March 15, 1987: While in college, DiGerolamo researches a report on local Neo-Nazis for an expose in his TV journalism class. After a skinhead threatens to beat him with his own video camera, he changes the subject of his expose to “Campus Drinking Laws: Why the Age Should be Lowered Back to 19.” The FBI, monitoring the skinhead’s group runs a routine check on the college student finding several unpaid parking tickets. He receives a B- on his alternate report.
July 29, 1993: Christian Beranek is pulled over by New Mexico State Troopers for erratic driving. This is a ruse as the troopers are actually after his “date”, a transsexual Mexican national known only as “Juanita”. Juanita was a witness in a capital murder trial against figures in the Mexican Mafia and had eluded her handlers. Troopers arrested Beranek for drunk driving, but he was acquitted when his lawyer argued that his front tires were on the Mexican side of the border and therefore out of the jurisdiction of the State Troopers. The case is thrown out. A routine check of Beranek by the FBI revealed three arrests for public drunkenness, but no convictions.
1996: DiGerolamo and Beranek, neither one knowing the other yet and living in New Jersey and Virginia, respectively, read their first webcomic. DiGerolamo wrote about this day on his now defunct blog, “A Taste of Tony”. “I was just blown away. The first webcomic opened up so many doors. I had wanted to do the word balloons on computer, but the whole thing? It would save tons of overhead.” Beranek downloaded his first webcomic the same year and was simultaneously flagged by the FBI for posting an X-rated Japanese film in violation of International Copyright Laws.
2000: DiGerolamo meets the fraternity brothers from Lambda Sigma Rho after a comic book signing in upstate New York. The brothers sign an agreement licensing their likenesses to DiGerolamo. DiGerolamo’s car is stolen by the brothers and later found at the bottom of a cesspool in Tijuana. In an ironic twist of fate, Beranek is in Tijuana at a party on the top of a hill overlooking the valley when the brothers shove DiGerolamo’s 1986 Nissan 200SE into the cesspool. Writing about it later on his now defunct LiveJournal account, CB says, “As Mr. Escobar’s party began to wind down, I look out over the valley at the many cacti and shanty towns. That was the real Mexico down there. Dusty and sweaty like Escobar’s whores. Some guys shove a car down a hill and it disappears into a pool of brown. That’s Mexico if you’re not careful.” Beranek was forced to flee the country when Mexico authorities uncovered a complicated toy forgery ring including Spawn figures. Beranek escaped capture and was never charged.
Late 2000-2001: DiGerolamo gets Chris Moreno, his artist for his comic book at the time, The Travelers, to do some mock up sketches of the main characters from Super Frat. He begins pitching the concept to several comic book publishers over the next year including Caliber Comics, Awesome Comics, Millennium Publishing and CrossGen. The FBI retroactively hunts down the previous submissions when researching the background on the Super Frat comic. The rejections are virtually the same as the now defunct publishers tell DiGerolamo that Super Frat concept is “unpublishable”. At the same time, Beranek along with his brother, Adam, come up with the idea for a comic book publishing house called Silent Devil in the drunk tank in the basement of the Memphis County lock up after being arrested for drunk in disorderly conduct at a local bar. The brothers’ first comic book is based on an ancient Sumerian text Beranek found on a hike in Burma. Although several thousand issues are printed, each fanboy that buys and reads it dies mysteriously at the hand of his greatest fear.
August 4, 2001: Beranek leaves Silent Devil in control of his brother after finding a map in the back in the same ancient mysterious text. He claims, at the time, it leads to the secret of eternal life.
September 11, 2001: DiGerolamo lines up a multimillion dollar contract to publish Super Frat with a rich Japanese investor. As they are about to sign the contract in a rooftop restaurant in Manhattan, a stapler from the World Trade Center, flying at lethal speed due to the 9/11 explosion, strikes the investor killing him instantly before he can sign. DiGerolamo escapes injury, but the investor’s company refuses to follow through on the deal after DiGerolamo is caught paying the check with the investor’s American Express Card.
February 2, 2002: Chinese authorities report mysterious lights coming from one of the Sacred Mountains in Shadong. Hours later, Beranek is arrested by Chinese authorities in a nearby village. Local villagers attempt to worship him as god, but his shrines are destroyed by Chinese soldiers. In a rare move, the Communist government issues a pardon and he is rapidly deported from Chinese soil. Rumors of a Beranek Cult where followers drink inordinate amounts of alcohol and cavort with prostitutes in a Bacchanalian dance continued to be denied by provincial authorities to this day.
April 6, 2002: DiGerolamo attempts another ill-fated comic book publishing deal, this time with a Russian Oligarch named Andre Levinov. Levinov is assassinated in the middle of their contract negotiations in New York’s Little Odessa. DiGerolamo only escapes injury when he bends down to pick up a sausage that had rolled off his plate. He is arrested after attempting to ransack Levinov’s wallet to pay the check.
April 7, 2002: As luck would have it, DiGerolamo meets Beranek’s former lawyer, Bruce Levine. A fan of comic books, Levine is visiting an associate that is a public defender. Recognizing DiGerolamo’s name on his list of clients, he offers to take on the writer’s case. He quickly frees DiGerolamo and tells him about his other client, Christian Beranek.
June 19, 2002: Beranek mysteriously appears in the middle of a secure oil refinery in Houston, Texas not far from the Space Center. He warns everyone there to evacuate the refinery on November 10th. He carries a newspaper with that date. At the same time, Christian Beranek gets a parking ticket hundreds of miles away in Fairfax, VA. For the next several months, the FBI tracks two Christian Beraneks in different parts of the country.
August 15th, 2002: The Beranek from Virginia is introduced to DiGerolamo at a comic book convention in Newark, DE. Beranek lures artist Chris Moreno away to draw Dracula vs. King Arthur. Although DiGerolamo pitches him the Super Frat comic book, Beranek expresses little or not interest in it at this time.
November 9, 2002: The second Christian Beranek apparently meets the first Christian Beranek. The first uses Silent Devil’s profits to fly down to Houston. The second Beranek rushes to DiGerolamo’s house just as he’s about to throw the Super Frat manuscript into the trash. Claiming that he’s “seen the future”, he convinces DiGerolamo to let him publish Super Frat. DiGerolamo and Beranek both agree it should be published as a webcomic.
November 10, 2002: Beranek is recorded on security cameras tampering with an experimental laser in the Space Center while holding a piece of the ancient Sumerian text and cradling a newspaper under his arm. As the laser fires, he disappears. The heat from the experiment causes an explosion in the nearby oil refinery, which had been evacuated as a precaution.
2003: Beranek publishes the Super Frat webcomic on the Silent Devil website. Drawn by Chris Moreno and written by DiGerolamo, it is an instant hit on the site. After several strips skewering Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld on Spring Break are posted, the FBI steps up it’s surveillance of the duo.
Christian Beranek co-founded and runs Disney’s Kingdom Comics with Ahmet Zappa. CB has a first look film/tv deal with Disney/ABC via his Lead Pipe Entertainment banner. He has several projects in development around town including Dracula vs. King Arthur, based on the graphic novel he co-created. He is currently working on his first novel and an album. CB is never late for dinner and invites you to add him on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/beranek
Tony DiGerolamo is a writer for the Simpsons and the Bart Simpson comic books. He is the creator of The Travelers and webcomic Super Frat, posted at www.superfrat.com. Don’t miss his monthly comics column in KODT magazine called Lookin’ at Comics and his other deranged projects at www.thefixsite.com. Twitter him at http://twitter.com/TonyDiGerolamo. Tony D is never late for Twitter and invites you to dinner.