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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Early Work

There's a Gahan Wilson cartoon in which a disgruntled museum patron stands before a wall of crayola drawings of smiling stick-figure people and wobbly circle-suns with spokes.  The guard behind him says, "Of course, they're very early Rembrandts."
This is an early Man Martin, in fact the earliest Man Martin extant.  It is was given to me by my sweet, sweet sister Helen who had saved it, lo these many years.  The heading is "Facing Reality" spelled with the eccentricity of a six or seven-year old.  (My mother had recently divorced my alcoholic father, so this concept had special resonance for me.  It is also interesting that it was written on Norlestrin notepaper - Norlestrin, the internet informs me is a birth control prescription???)  I will offer one minor clarification of the picture; the reason for the man's peculiar dance-like pose is that he was facing in the other direction and has just that moment wheeled around, perhaps feeling the humid breath of "Realatty" at his back.  Everything else I leave to you.


  1. The drawing of the man is very Thurber-ish, which is a compliment. I've always liked Thurber's wonderful cartoon renderings...they were always quite warm and appealing.
    And just for the record, I think you should let the drawing stand on its own and not clarify the man's position. To me, it looks more like he is facing "Realatty" straight on. After all, the feet don't look like they've just turned around suddenly. In fact, it looks like he's bravely striding towards the beast...eyes blazing and with a big snarl on his face...getting a big backswing windup preparing to hammer into life with both fists.

  2. ((((((Man))))) This resonates with me. My folks split when I was 8, and I had to grow up fast and help take care of my little sister, who was 7 years younger. We're still really close. I tend to take a lot of childlike glee in the world around me now and take every excuse to be a kid with my boys (not so much that they'd feel rudderless, tho.) My folks actually got back together for a couple of years when I was 14, and Daddy died of liver cancer when I was 16. Screw growing old...childhood's not for sissies, either!