Stuff You Should Know

R.I.P. John Callahan

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John Callahan, a syndicated cartoonist who overcame the setback of becoming a quadriplegic in a car accident in 1972 has passed on at the age of 59. He had been undergoing surgery treatment at a Portland, Oregon hospital for a chronic bed sore when he left this world for a better one on Saturday.

Callahan
John Callahan

Callahan was one twisted individual—and I don’t mean that in a negative sense. His cartoons were in-your-face politically correct, and yet he counted among his fans former President Bill Clinton, comedian Richard Pryor, and humor columnist Dave Barry.

Some of his other better-known panels, courtesy of the Los Angeles Times obituary:

Two Ku Klux Klansmen heading out at night in their white sheets. Says one: “Don’t you love it when they’re still warm from the dryer?”

A beggar in the street wearing a sign that reads, “Please help me. I am blind and black, but not musical.”

A sign in the window of a small, street-side restaurant says: “The Anorexic Cafe, Now Closed 24 Hours a Day!!!”

An imposing woman glares at a small man and says: “This is a feminist bookstore! There is no humor section!”

A small boy and his father look at a dog lying on its back with a large shard of glass embedded in its chest. “How much is that window in the doggie?” asks the boy.

Clearly an individual who made Gary Larson of The Far Side look like a punk.

His cartoons were featured in several collections of books, and his 1989 autobiography was entitled Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot: The Autobiography of a Dangerous Man. To this day, I can’t hear the first part of that phrase in a movie or television western without thinking of him.

To an individual who demonstrated it’s possible to overcome adversity and create some of the sickest, falling-down-funniest cartoons in the history of the medium…I say R.I.P, John. You will be sorely missed.

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