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Monday, June 13, 2011

See You in the Funny Pages

Remember the unequaled pleasure of sitting around on Sunday morning reading the comics as a kid? Maybe, for you, this wonderful, languid time took its place on the floor of your old family room, the newspaper spread out on top of endless acres of shag carpeting or, if you're a bit younger, berber. Perhaps you curled up in your father's favorite armchair, eating dry cereal out of a plastic Kellogg's bowl with your fingers as your youthful, unaided eyes scanned the colorful pages, taking in the latest follies of Calvin and Hobbes, or the misadventures of Dennis the Menace, or the alcohol-infused domestic violence of the Lockharts?

Seriously-- what the fuck was that kind of shit for children to read? That comic strip is singlehandedly responsible for my penchant for attending dinner parties with my tie askew, imbibing single malt liqour, insulting my wife and then punching her repeatedly in the face.

Anyway, I used to love reading the Sunday comics when I was a child. My sister and I would fight over them, of course, and then my father would scream at us for eating our "Cinnamon Toast Crunch" too loudly. The fighting with each other never seemed to bother him, but the loud crunching noises drove him fucking bananas. I loved when he would yell at us, because it was hilarious.


Oh, Israelis... there's just nobody like them. No. body.

When you do enough of something as a kid, eventually you end up wanting to do it yourself. And I read a lot of comics growing up, and not just the comics in the paper on Sundays, I read the black-and-white ones on the weekdays, too, and, from a very early age, I made my parents buy me comic books. And I'm not talking about that fucking ginger-asshair loser Archie. The comic books I craved, for whatever reason, were Bloom County books, by Berkeley Breathed and Doonesbury by Gary Trudeau.

I was reading these books beginning in third grade, and I didn't just read one or two, I collected them. At one point, I had six Bloom County books on my bedroom shelves. Looking back on my childhood, I'm trying to think of something that I watched or read that wasn't completely age-inappropriate, and I can't really think of anything-- except for, I guess, the Dukes of Hazzard-- but I'm not particularly sure that six-year-old me should have been looking at Catherine Bach's tits as much as I did. I could have told you, at that age, exactly where the mole was on her breast, and what shape and color it was. If she had one. But she didn't.

A... mole, that is... Um...

Right, so: comics. When you read enough comics, you want to draw your own. Obvs. Now, I talk a lot on this here soapbox about my talents. You know what they are by now. Because you've never heard me talk about visually-artistic proclivities, I'm sure you've assumed that I don't have any.


And yet, I tried. In elementary school, you'll pretty much try anything because you're generally too stupid to care very much about impending and obvious failure. Such was the case with me and comics. I don't remember what my comic strip was called (Dog Days, maybe?) but its star was a balding, middle-aged man in a shirt and tie, and I think his name was Stan. Stan was a hapless schmoe who owned a dog and a car that was perpetually breaking down (was this little me planning for the future?) and Stan worked at a dead-end desk-job and the vast majority of his non-working life consisted of taking his car into the garage. I was drawing these comics when I was maybe eight or nine. Stan's car had a habit of falling off the hydraulic lift at the mechanic's shop, which caused Stan great distress, as it tended to elevate the already steep bill exponentially.

I also drew comics of people having sex. Those were totally unrelated to the comics I drew of Stan. Stan didn't have sex, because, in my young, still-forming mind, there was no room for the concept that even luckless schmucktards still managed to, occasionally, achieve intercourse.

The comics featuring people having sex were, of course, discovered by my friend's mother during a sleepover, and were reported to my parents, who said nothing to me about them. This was the style of parenting they preferred, and I preferred it, too. It molded me into someone who detests confrontation and uncomfortable situations, and someone who still does, says, and writes pretty much whatever the hell he wants.

The drawings of Stan and his nowhere job and his falling-off-the-lift car were, of course, never discovered by anyone. Sadly, no child will ever crunch too loudly on Cinnamon Toast Crunch while reading "Dog Days"-- or whatever the fuck it was called-- while their father screams at them to "SHAT DEE FACK UP ALREADY!" and I guess I'm okay with that.


  1. If you still have those pictures of people having sex, I'd love to see them. could you post them on the blog? please. PLEASE post them on the blog.

  2. Ha! You're kidding me, right? Those are long gone. From what I remember, though, there was a lot of missionary position. What do you want from an elementary schooler? I was a long way away from Reverse-Cowgirl, the Rusty Trombone, and the Danza Slap.

    Wah-PASH! "MONA!"

  3. think that you could maybe draw some new ones and post em?


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