« No wonder psychedelics are threatening to an authoritarian religious hierarchy. You don’t need faith to benefit from a psychedelic experience, let alone a priest or even a shaman to interpret it. What you need is courage to drink the brew, eat the mushroom, or whatever it is, and then to pay attention, and make of it what you will. Suddenly, the tools for direct contact with the transcendent other (whether you call it God or something else) is taken from the hands of an anointed elite and given to the individual seeker. » — Dennis McKenna
Sensing that I’ve been neglecting Underground Comix in our coverage, I thought I’d close out the year with a thematic pairing of a favourite comestible with a beloved cartoonist (and his collaborators).
« That’s the conditions that prevail! » — Jimmy Durante
Today, we salute noted vaudevillian, piano player, comedian, singer, film and radio star, raconteur and unlikely comics legend James Francis “Jimmy” Durante, born on this day, February 10, in 1893 (as it was a Friday, the family presumably fasted or had fish for dinner). He truly was a master of all media, as you’ll witness.
« … and now for some of that fun we promised you! Trained chihuahas! Car races! A couple of inspirational documentaries! And a quiz show! Hallelujahgobble! Hallelujahgobble! »
For my money, there’s no funnier man in comics, at least on such a consistent, sustained level, as the extraordinary Gilbert Shelton (born May 31st, 1940, in Houston, TX, which makes him 78 today). Sure, he’s slowed down some since 1959 (the year he foisted upon the world the Wonder Warthog), but the quality of his output has not decreased one iota (quite the contrary, in fact!) It may well be that the secret of his longevity lies in his choice of collaborators, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s just another facet of his talent. I’ll (mostly) let the man’s work speak for itself. Brace yourselves for the ride, here we go!
The Brothers’ none-too-effective nemesis Norbert the Nark in the spotlight. From The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers no. 12 (1992, Rip Off Press).
Fat Freddy’s such a good little Suzie Homemaker. Another piece from The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers no. 12 (1992, Rip Off Press).
Speaking of collaborators, though it’s none of their birthdays, let’s give a salty salute to Shelton compadres-in-crime Tony Bell, Joe E. Brown Jr., Dave Sheridan, Paul Mavrides and Pic. Did I forget anyone?