Wednesday, 17 August 2011

He Won't Get Far on Foot...

Today was my annual pilgrimage to my accountant to sort out my Income Tax return. Each year I head down to the Tweed River and visit the Coolangatta Bookshop stocking up on American detective novels that are difficult to get here in Brisbane. This year I picked up a half dozen of titles I've been chasing as well as a book by one of my favourite cartoonists John Callahan. His books are always difficult to get here in Australia and a quick search of Amazon shows that they are also disappearing from publication in the US as well. The Coolangatta Bookshop stocks mainly second hand books purchased from the states and shipped to Australia by the container-load, hence the availability of Callahan cartoon collections.

Callahan became a quadriplegic in an auto accident at age 21. The accident was after a day of drinking and as a direct result of his alcoholism. Following his accident, he became a cartoonist, drawing by clutching a pen between both hands. 

His visual artistic style was simplistic and often rough, although still legible. Callahan often dealt with subjects that were considered taboo and he scoffed at the reactions of critics who labeled his work politically incorrect. 

“My only compass for whether I’ve gone too far is the reaction I get from people in wheelchairs, or with hooks for hands. Like me, they are fed up with people who presume to speak for the disabled. All the pity and the patronizing. That’s what is truly detestable.”

In 2000, there was talk of Robin Williams starring in a movie based on the cartoonist's life, but it never eventuated. Callahan died from complications from his quadriplegia last year at age 59. I was fortunate enough to pick up a second-hand copy of "Do What He Says! He's Crazy!" today at a great price.
Burn brightly, Pete

No comments:

Post a Comment