"Nero" was a long running (1947-2002) Belgian comic strip by Marc Sleen (1922-2016). It was one of the most popular and well known comic strips in Flanders. The comic told the adventures of Nero, a fat, bald middle aged man and his eccentric friends. The series was known for its allusions and references to news events, politicians and other cultural and sociological phenomena of its day.
Sleen was a political cartoonist before he started drawing comics and still enjoyed to draw caricatures of famous people in his comics.
Frank Zappa had a cameo in "Nero" at least three times:
- In strips 61-62 of the album "De Zwarte Toren" (1983) ("The Black Tower") one of the characters, Jan Spier, is threatened by some muggers. One of them is a caricature of Frank Zappa.
- In the album "Het Beest Zonder Naam" (1985) ("The Beast With No Name") Zappa is once again portrayed as a villain, but this time in a starring role. He calls himself Doctor Zappadopolis, but "you may call me doctor Zappa". Coincidentally Zappa is hit on the head in the story and sees stars, which reminds him of Ronald Reagan's Star Wars project. The real Zappa criticized the Star Wars project and even wrote a song about it: Star Wars Won't Work.
- In the album "Doe De Petoe" (1994) Zappa's face can be seen in strip 26 on the wall of a music company, next to the faces of Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson and the Flemish crooner Eddy Wally.
Marc Sleen himself was not a fan of rock music and only used Zappa's face because it was fun to use as a caricature.