Once again, Michael Gerber has been kind to me and published this five page short story in the fifth issue of The American Bystander. This is the only American Humor magazine that currently exists in the World. It is my privilege to be included with authors and cartoonists more eminent than myself.
It seems as though I am a teenage boy who has stowed away on the most marvelous pirate ship.
You can subscribe to this splendid publication, and you ought to do so in order to be more presentable at cocktail parties.
This is a very large drawing. Approximately 6' vertical and 8' horizontal. In the Post Thriller era that became the languid in between era of when is Michael Jackson going to release a new album? I had to traverse Market Street in San Francisco five days a week. As the time grew longer and longer between the release dates of Thriller and the record that would be known as Bad, strange creatures began to appear all up and down Market Street. Such was the King of Pops power to inspire that flattery known as imitation. These charlatans badly pranced, preened and spun upon flattened and dirty refrigerator boxes, moon walking to the noise that spewed from much too loud ghetto blasters, while wearing their approximated Thriller era costumes from the Saint Vincent De Paul Thrift Store.
All of these homemade costumes included the white glove effect. These had to have come from little old lady estate sales. These were the gloves they had worn to church for many years, the exception being their funerals. Clearly they all needed a better Dresser. From the estate sale these gloves had quickly landed in the thrift store and were easy pickings for street life, who then proceeded getting them dirty with pavement pirouettes.
After all this time, I think they were mad. Why would anyone even ponder the idea of impersonating Michael Jackson? The man was completely sui generis and massively gifted to boot! There is no way that the most talented mimic could even come close to approaching the level of brilliance required by this task, let alone guys on the street who saw themselves as entitled to the money of passersby who had simply stumbled across their numerous lame reenactments while once again on their ways to the drudgery of the high rise office. Just because one had to wear a suit, it didn't mean that one had money. Likelier you were suffering with four roommates to be able to afford the astronomical rents.
These imposters were as close to Michael Jackson as those grown men who play army are to the Battle of Antietam.
All of them were worse than Mimes. And after that it went Bad.
That's how they used to refer to PTSD. Shell Shock. I was going through some old family photos the other day and I came across a strange one from World War Two.
Young men standing around smoking cigarettes on the porch of a military hospital. Three in uniform and one wearing fancy pajamas. I was struck by their resemblance to a punk band from the late Seventies or early Eighties. I showed the photo to others and everyone agreed with me that they might as well have been Wall of Voodoo or Joy Division.
Michael Gerber has once again been kind to me and published this single page comic in the fourth issue of The American Bystander. This is the only American Humor Magazine that currently exists in the World. You can subscribe to this wonderful publication, and you ought to do so in order to get that frown off of your face. Visage improvement, that's the ticket!
A second illustration from Dr. Strange Love - Seattle Weekly 1998. This illustration was one of several that appeared with an article by Rick Anderson titled "The Man Who Remade Women" about an abusive plastic surgeon.
Michael Gerber of The American Bystander is so kind to me as to have published this comic short story in the third issue of the only American Humor Magazine that currently exists in the World.
I am quite thrilled to be a part of this endeavor as many of my favorite satirical writers are also participating. I feel like a stowaway teenage boy who found his way onto a marvelous pirate ship.
The other contributors are too numerous to mention and mostly outrank me. But suffice it to say that their resumes include The National Lampoon, The David Letterman Show, Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, The Onion, The New Yorker, etc, etc, etc.
You can subscribe, and you ought to do so today. Please go to: www.americanbystander.org
Cathy Malkasian is my favorite living cartoonist. In fact, I like her work more than many of the dead ones I admire. Cathy has a brand new book, named EARTHA that is going to be available in the next month. She has a very unique and sincere way of making comics. I think this is because she isn't limited by the restraints that most cartoonists accept and self-impose.
Her drawings exhibit the lovely subtleties and dynamics more frequently found in fine art lithography than in comic books. Her background in animation and film direction informs her work with a verve and sophistication that is visually stunning. While her storytelling skills are of a caliber with the best writers of fairy tales.
I think that this is what she is actually creating, the absolutely serious realities of our time presented within the context of a simultaneously blithe and anxious fairy tale. It is dazzling stuff.
Her three previous graphic novels (Percy Gloom, Temperance, Wake Up, Percy Gloom!) all knocked me out. I am so looking forward to reading EARTHA and you should be too. EARTHA ships directly from the publisher Fantagraphics March 15th. It will be available on Amazon in digital form on March 29th and in hardcover on April 4th.
If you're interested in comics as an art form, created by someone who is original and making singular work of a stand out from the crowd quality, you have to read this book.