Friday, February 01, 2008
Such Stuff As Dreams are Made Of ...
In the winter of 1978, my copy of the CoEvolution Quarterly arrived in the mail, a magazine that was a spin-off from The Whole Earth Catalog. This was a newsprint deal, not destined to last for the ages. Nonetheless, I carefully stored it away in a drawer. The paper has yellowed much since, but I saved it for the comic strip therein, written and drawn by Dan O'Neill. This was an eight-page story that spoke to the nature of dreams, still the best thing I've ever read on the subject, and one that always makes me smile at the last panel. Pure gold.
Upbeat, uplifting, and eminently satisfying, this is a tale that is the classic example of a protagonist overcoming obstacles to reach a goal.
O'Neill was an underground cartoonist, out of San Francisco, who was known for his series "Odd Bodkins,"and for a famous lawsuit brought against him and his collective of artists (the Air Pirates) by Disney, for their lampoon using Mickey Mouse. Other Disney characters, too, but mostly, it was The Mouse.
The artists held out for a long time, but Disney had the big guns. Real big guns ...
O'Neill apparently considers it a victory that he didn't wind up in jail. And while that is indeed a moral win of sorts, he came close to doing that, and there is a lesson here: You don't fuck with The Mouse. (Read more about it here.)
Or if you want, there's a whole book on it: The Pirates and the Mouse ...
The piece I liked so much is called "The Story of the Lone Ranger and the Difficulty at O'Leary's Birdcage Saloon ..."
I've tried to contact O'Neill, to find out where the piece might be found in a collection, but haven't been able to get through -- email keeps bouncing. Too bad, I'd like to point people at a place where they can buy this and put some money into his pocket. Try his site, maybe your browser works better -- and if you buy something, I expect you will enjoy it.
Copies of the CEQ issue (No. 20) are apparently available from collectors on the net, running $20 to $25 or so, and I think that is worth it for O'Neill's eight-page comic alone. The man is funny, sharp, and insightful.
No money back guarantee or anything, but if you get a copy and don't think it's worth it, lemme know. I'd be inclined to buy it so I'll have a back-up.