Sunday, 12 August 2012

Palnu: A Rotgut Distillery

Cerebus: Guys Party Pack (reprinting Cerebus #201-204, September 1996)
Art by Dave Sim & Gerhard
(from a letter to Michael Grabowski dated 14 February 2004, Dave Sim: Collected Letters 2004)
... you were wondering about the Stooges and Woody Allen and saying that you didn't think they were as good as (your example) the Marx Brothers that I did. That's probably just a matter of taste. With Woody Allen, I actually tried to follow the course of his filmic career as well as doing him, so I'm rather more pleased with Konigsberg than I was with Lord Julius and/or Duke Leonardi, because I set myself a more complicated challenge both in that structural way and in the fact that I depicted him in a variety of cartooning styles. It was probably at least partly an outgrowth of having wanted to do Groucho (1890-1977) as an old man somewhere in the course of Latter Days and just not having room for it. I was going to make Palnu this last lonely out-post completely surrounded by Cirinists and the place was just one big rotgut distillery with Lord Julius and Baskin running everything pretty much by themselves ("I'm not sure what this is." "What colour is it?" "Sort of a dirty brown." "How much of it have you got?" "Probably enough for twenty large bottles." "Which labels do we have more of: 'dark larger' or 'coffee liqueur'?" "Mm. Coffee Liqueur." "Coffee Liqueur it is.") The problem was the big jump in time happens in the second issue of the Prologue and it just won't have fit with the This Aardvark, This Shepherd which needed a very pastoral quality. Even when he was at death's door, Groucho would never have gone with "pastoral". I watched myself to see if I would do it and watched the moment slip away. Too bad, in a way, because I was looking forward to getting the issue of Playboy [March 1974] where he was interviewed as an old man, drawing him with the white mustache and the beret and the liver spots. The whole nine yards.
The Groucho Marx 1974 Playboy interview is reprinted in The Playboy Interviews: The Comedians published in 2008 by Dark Horse Comics, which also features interviews with Don Rickles, Bill Cosby, Woody Allen, Jim Carrey, George Carlin, Jon Stewart, Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld.

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