There are two things from my early twenties that people will always ask about, no matter what I've done or will do since then. Like the old joke goes, "You fuck just one sheep..."
The first is "did you really write a threatening letter to the President?" The answer is yes. Thankfully, most people don't care anymore, but nearly twenty years ago when it happened I received all sorts of condescending lectures and fears that associating with me would make them the target of government surveillance. To be exact, it was a practical joke I played on someone else gone awry, but to this day people will bring it up as if it negates anything I say or do for the rest of my life. Only when they disagree with me on something else do they shed crocodile tears, though. The incident has been greatly exaggerated over time. I've heard stories about how it was an FBI investigation then a CIA investigation, how it resulted in someone almost being killed, etcetera. Truth is I learned my lesson about the limits of practical joking and that Secret Service agents don't have a sense of humor long before any of this was ever made public. Even though I lost the friendship of the guy I played the joke on, I liken it more to falsely pulling a fire alarm. I've never denied it or tried to keep it from anyone. I just don't like to be solely known as THAT GUY.
The other question I get asked a lot is "Do you have any copies of that Dave Berg comic?" Regrettably, I've had to answer no. I made about 20-30 copies of a xerox comic around 1991 or 1992 called "The Lighter Side of Copyright Infringement" which was a bunch of "Lighter Side" strips from MAD relettered ala 'What's Up, Tiger Lily?'. I wrote most of them with a couple of them by others. I included a couple copies in a grab bag of most of the mini=comics I had done up to then which I sold only at Jim Hanley's Universe in NYC. Some were reprinted in a couple fanzines and the comic itself must have been bootlegged for so many people to know about it. I was recently corresponding with someone from Vermont who saw the comic years ago not knowing I was the one who did it. I've told people I can't make any more copies since I don't know where the original is. Until now.
A couple weeks ago I was rummaging through my storage space looking for comics to sell on Ebay (I still have a few if anyone's interested) and I found the master for this comic I printed long ago. It was originally hand-lettered but I typed it for this because that's how I would have done it if I had the technology back then. I couldn't find the font MAD used exactly but I think what I have is close enough.
I can't take credit for this one. I can't give credit either because I don't want to bring this person down with me. He can reveal himself if he chooses, though.
This one was done by my roommate at the time.
As people who know me or my cartoons or this blog know, I've always been obsessed with Dave Berg. Next to much of the material I thought was subversive and anarchic when I was twelve, it doesn't seem to belong. Apparently, much of the MAD staff thought so too but kept running 'The Lighter Side' because it was one of their most popular features. They even have a recurring feature now called 'The Darker Side of Dave Berg' which is similar to the stuff you see here. He never actually revealed the pipe-smoking middle-aged man was himself but somehow we all knew. Like Bob Hope and Benny Hill, he wasn't that good in the first place, but still was once far more versatile and talented than what he was better known for in the later half of his life.
One of these years I'll find the master for the C-3P0 comic I did with my friend Mike. If anyone has a copy I'll happily post it.
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