June 4, 2004

I should have thrown in a Pilgrim. Or a horny grandma.


A comic I wrote for Playboy has been anthologized -- "handpicked by Hugh M. Hefner himself," it says on the dustjacket -- in Playboy 50 Years: The Cartoons.

This is in many respects an honor. Those respects include: 1) They actually paid me a reprint fee. Sure that was in my contract, but I promise that many magazines would have ignored that. 2) They sent me a copy of the book, which they definitely didn't have to do. 3) The book came with an authentically-signed letter from Hugh M. Hefner himself. V. cool.

However in at least one respect this honor is dubious, namely: 1) Playboy cartoons, by and large, blow.

I don't think I'm saying anything anyone doesn't know (other than Hugh M. Hefner himself, and I doubt he reads many blogs). An Amazon reviewer points out that because the book (which is very handsomely produced, btw) is not chronological, "there is no way to tell what year the cartoons are from." Which is a nice way of saying that the cartoons in Playboy today might as well have been done in 1962 — not a compliment. The book also confirms that even the cartoons that weren't dated when they were first published still weren't particularly funny, though a few are nicely drawn.

I'm not claiming my own is any better than the rest. It certainly hasn't aged well, though it's at least more timely this week than it was a month ago. It's a 2-page comic called CSE: Crime Scene Enron, and features the gang from CSI investigating the Enron collapse. (Sorry I don't have a copy to post). Though nicely illustrated by J.J. Sedelmaier (who did SNL's Ambiguously Gay Duo), it's not my best stuff.

I did write another comic, also illustrated by Sedelmaier's studios, that's much funnier, though it never saw print. It featured Jenna and Barbara Bush as the Dukes of Hazzard, so right there: hilarity. Here's what happened. I was due to turn it in on Sept. 10, 2001, but I was running behind and asked for one more day. The editor's exact words: "OK. But you'd better be feeling funny tomorrow."

I did eventually finish it, and like I said, it was funny. But, you see, it mocked the commander in chief and his family, and that, you may recall, was not acceptable for the next year or so. The magazine was nice enough to pay us in full, rather than give the standard kill fee (it really is the best place I've ever freelanced for), but that means that they own the rights and I can't resell it (or even post it here). I keep hoping the twins will get arrested again and give Playboy an excuse to finally run the thing, but they've obviously been locked in a vault till 2005 matured since then.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


You didn't quote the part of the user review that stood out when I read it: it begins by saying, "First of all this book is printed on excellent paper..." -- which is never a good way for a review to start.

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