Democracy Has Prevailed.

July 28, 2010

John Callahan (1951-2010)

From the NYTimes:
John Callahan, a quadriplegic, alcoholic cartoonist whose work in newspapers and magazines made irreverent, impolitic sport of people with disabilities and diseases and those who would pity and condescend to them, died Saturday in Portland, Ore. He was 59 and lived in Portland.

The causes were complications of quadriplegia and respiratory problems, his brother Tom said.

Like his friend Gary Larson, the creator of “The Far Side,” Mr. Callahan made drawings with a gleeful appreciation of the macabre he found in everyday life. He was, however, a man who lived his life with disadvantages, some of them self-wrought, and he viewed the world through a dark and wicked lens.

“This is John, I’m a little too depressed to take your call today,” the message on his answering machine said. “Please leave your message at the gunshot.”
In his honor:


Piltdown Man said...

I'm changing my phone message NOW!

EdHeath said...

I remember reading Callahan in the City Paper in the 1980's. I believe 60 minutes did a profile about him around then. They did mention the alcoholism, and I think he had a girl friend or wife who might have also been in a wheel chair. I remember the story ended with Leslie Stahl (or whomever) saying something about Callahan not ruling out children in his future and Callahan himself saying "I would like to hear the sound of little wheels in the house" (or words to that effect, I definitely remember the "little wheels" part).

I also remember thinking, specificity because of Callahan, that if you are offended by about a third of a particular artist's comedy, then there is a good chance that artist is pretty cutting edge.

I had lost track of him and his work, but still, for me, a pretty sad day.