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Will the Real John Callahan Please Stand Up?
     

Will the Real John Callahan Please Stand Up?

by John Callahan, Robin Williams (Introduction)
 
An automobile accident when he was 21 left John Callahan confined to a wheelchair, but his humor--and his spirit--have apparently known no bounds. This definitive autobiography of the cartoonist ranges wide and weird, revealing him to be at once adorable, sentimental, and depraved. The accompanying cartoons--many never-before-published--touch on such subjects as

Overview

An automobile accident when he was 21 left John Callahan confined to a wheelchair, but his humor--and his spirit--have apparently known no bounds. This definitive autobiography of the cartoonist ranges wide and weird, revealing him to be at once adorable, sentimental, and depraved. The accompanying cartoons--many never-before-published--touch on such subjects as penises, death, Madonna, disability, and feminism.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The emphasis in this "quasi-memoir" seems to be on "quasi," since Callahan, the highly politically incorrect quadriplegic cartoonist, already rolled over autobiographical territory in Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot. So if this book, further subtitled "Lurid Revelations," "Shocking Rejections" and "Irate Letters," may not be the best introduction to Callahan's work, these outtakes will entertain (and maybe shock) his fans. Rejected cartoons resurrected here include some highly irreverent scenes of nuns, some brutal pet panels and a strip featuring a deceased main character. Callahan's reflections, sandwiched in between the cartoons, include both forgettable anedotes and from-the-heart confessions. "Once you've come face-to-face with the Grim Reaper... it gives you a depth, an irreverence, and a dark sense of humor," he writes, adding that he draws in deliberately crude fashion in order not to upstage the gag. "Fan mail" and news coverage -- accompanied by cartoons that raised controversy -- include a mix of irate letters and messages from free-speech defenders. Sometimes Callahan seems to take cheap shots (is "Slanta Claus" with Asian features really irreverent?), but more often his outrage hits home and hard. (Jan.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688133399
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/01/1998
Pages:
209
Product dimensions:
8.33(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.74(d)

Read an Excerpt

SURGERY

This morning Franny asked me if I've given any mire thought to the surgeries I'm supposed to have. I hate it when she prods me on this matter. I'm supposed to undergo a hemorrhoid-reduction operation as well as some kind of procedure to blast out a couple of kidney stones. With a joke, I always skirt the subject in mock disgust. The truth is I am terrified of surgery at this time in my life. It's not actually the surgery, but it is the anesthetic part I'm afraid of. The idea of being chemically bludgeoned into unconsciousness seems hellish to me. It's like loss of all control, a slipping away, a kind of dying, but I can't very well request a priest there to read Psalm 23 to me as I'm pushed along.

I've had my share of major surgeries along this joyful path of quadriplegia. I'm no novice! I have no great fear that the surgeons will not be adept at the procedures they undertake. It is only the part about slipping away that horrifies me. I'm sure it's due to what I'm going through right now in therapy, a kind of power struggle deep in my subconscious or something. Lately, even my therapist has turned against me! He's been gently, but consistently, prodding me about recognizing my physical needs. (I'm thinking of getting another therapist).

Anyway, I've decided on a plan for dealing with the problem that might please all parties concerned. I will send a letter to my surgeon expressing the fact that I am willing to undergo the needed procedure, but only with a slightly altered method of anesthetic administration. I will request that the anesthesiologist purchase one of those tranquilizer rifles that game wardens use to put big-game animalsto sleep. I will suggest this doctor simply lie in wait for me somewhere around town and shoot me one day when I'm going about my business and blissfully unaware of anything. My body could then be transported to the hospital for the needed surgery.

All I'm really asking is to be treated as humanely as one of our creatures of the wild. If a Kodiak bear can be gently dispatched to unconsciousness, why can't I? Must I rent a bear's costume and run around in the woods to achieve this end?

Copyright ) 1998 by John Callahan

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