March 14, 2002
7:21 PM   Subscribe

America's greatest quadrapelegic, recovering alcoholic cartoonist has a home online. John Callahan may be the most hilariously truthful people alive. This page contains animated versions of some of his best. The collection of hate mail he's recieved is a hoot as well, if you enjoy laughing at the sanctimonious. This is one of his best and also the title of his excellent autobiography.
posted by jonmc (20 comments total)
Boy, were those not funny. I'm not being PC. Hell, I loved the conjoined twin episode of South Park. But none of the cartoons struck me as remotely funny. The letters, on the other hand...
posted by jpoulos at 7:39 PM on March 14, 2002

jpoulos-not all of his stuff is funny to everyone...Check thru a couple of his books I'm sure you'll find a few you'll chuckle at.
posted by jonmc at 7:44 PM on March 14, 2002

I saw an animated version of I think I was an alcoholic, but didn't know the man responsible. Thanks for the link!
posted by phatboy at 7:50 PM on March 14, 2002

The guy's obviously trying to provoke a knee-jerk response in thinskinned people and succeeds brilliantly on that level. But I didn't find the cartoons all that funny either. Oh well, humor's a tricky beast. Not everyone finds Milk and Cheese funny (or even comprehensible) either, but I love 'em.
posted by MrBaliHai at 8:03 PM on March 14, 2002

I love this guy - I had no idea he was quadraplegic. He might not be laugh-out-loud funny, but he's such an unrelenting humanist that he makes me laugh, just for the tender understanding of human foibles: vanity, greed, selfishness.

When I went looking for a link to his TV series, which was very popular here in Portugal, I came across this on-the-button Matt Groening quote about him:

"Rude, shocking, depraved, tasteless--Callahan gets called all the adjectives cartoonists love to hear."
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:03 PM on March 14, 2002

well, this one is pushin' it.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:09 PM on March 14, 2002

but he's such an unrelenting humanist that he makes me laugh
You know, that's the only way I could enjoy this. I would have to confronted with comic after comic until I broke. At that point I would also find colour funny.
posted by holloway at 8:12 PM on March 14, 2002

A bit, but those who walk the fine line occasionally step over it.
I tried to google my favorite Callahan strip which features a choir in a mental institution singing "Do You Hear What I hear?" but no dice. That's probably a better example of Callahan at his best.
posted by jonmc at 8:12 PM on March 14, 2002

sorry, forgot to close tag.
posted by jonmc at 8:13 PM on March 14, 2002

he's no ted rall, thank god.
posted by Mick at 8:45 PM on March 14, 2002

I think i prefer cartoonists who can actually draw.
posted by benh57 at 8:46 PM on March 14, 2002

When I was a wee local TV laddie, we "walked around town" with Callahan for an afternoon. It was truly amazing how many people the guy knew, and how he responded to them. He's pretty hard to miss around NW Portland... a guy with bright red hair in a wheelchair stands out a bit. I'm kinda lukewarm on his cartoons, but I think he's pretty freakin' cool.
posted by apollo at 8:48 PM on March 14, 2002

benh- its hard to draw when you can't move your arms. Callahan does pretty well considering his limitations.

I must agree with johnmc, his autobiography is great.
posted by atom128 at 8:51 PM on March 14, 2002

Saw him in a 60 Minutes? piece--really impressive ability. I have one of his books, and always found it very funny, but some of the Asian slur stuff I don't find funny at all. If he wants to make fun of those with physical disabilities, I guess he's entitled, because he is, but he sure ain't Asian. His stuff is generally funny; he shouldn't have to stoop so low.
posted by gramcracker at 8:58 PM on March 14, 2002

I'm half-Chinese. Does that entitle me to pen offensive, racist cartoons?

Now, I have no problems with 'un-PC' cartoons. I thought the 'he won't get very far on foot' one was actually quite chuckle-worthy. 'Wok the dog' is not a bad pun, even if it's not laugh-out-loud funny.

But 'Slanta Claus'? How is that even funny? What's the joke? That Asian people have slanty eyes? Please.

Eh. It's not even that I'm particularly offended, althought I could see why people might be. It's just, on average, the guy isn't actually that good. Just 'cause he's a quadraplegic ex-alcoholic doesn't mean he's entitled to produce poor-quality jokes and then call himself a cartoonist.
posted by chrismear at 6:02 AM on March 15, 2002

I enjoy his work. He used to be a regular in Tropic, the Miami Herald's Sunday magazine section. His cartoons are like Tabasco sauce, best enjoyed in small doses, and I looked forward to his once a week appearance.

They dropped him after they accidently ran his cartoon showing Martin L. King as a teenager, pointing at a semen stain on his sheets and telling his mother, "I had a dream." (I didn't check to see if that one is on his site - I doubt it.) As you can imagine, it caused a huge uproar. It was the Herald's fault for not substituting the cartoon, but after it appeared, they couldn't use him again.
posted by groundhog at 6:13 AM on March 15, 2002

My favorite Callahan cartoon features a man standing before a counter being told by the clerk, "This is a feminist bookstore. There is no humor section."

I've seen that one hanging in more than a few feminist bookstores.
posted by bradlands at 9:56 AM on March 15, 2002

Boy, were those not funny ... The letters, on the other hand...

To truly enjoy Callahan you have to envision the letters he's going to receive as you read the strip.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 11:14 AM on March 15, 2002 [1 favorite]

chrismear - That one even I found somewhat offensive. But like I said, artist who like to walk the fine-line will occasionally step over it. The rest of stuff has value, I believe, in that it airs our ridiculous prejudices(and via the "hate mail", other peoples false piety) and deflates it. The fact that he spares no particular group is a good thing I believe-it seems he's saying "I think so little of our differences that I will not resist my urge to ridicule you as mercilessly as I would ridicule any one else, including myself."
posted by jonmc at 11:27 AM on March 15, 2002 [1 favorite]

Check out the logo at the top of the store page. This site's been around for a spell.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 12:36 PM on March 15, 2002

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