Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A lost gem

I came across this strange cartoon called 'The Outburst of Everett True'.

At the start of the 19th century, in a remarkably modern drawing style, these short rude and cruel stories evolve around the horrible grump Everett True. Each strip always had two panels only, always in the same vein: someone makes the mistake of addressing the title character with a subject that bores him or drives him angry, and in the second panel he does something horrible like throwing a little dog off a bus and insulting his sobbing owner, or beating up a batallion of cab drivers insulting them even more. Or this one, my favourite, with the keeper of the law:

Everett True looked a bit like an oversized WC Fields, one that could not only verbally abuse his opponents but also beat the shit out of them. In France they would call him an 'anarchiste de droite', in the style of Céline, offering a rare combination of extreme individualism (which might appear sympathetic), with an almost fascistic hatred..
There is a lot of anger and sadism in there, and the readers might enjoy the casual destruction of bores like they might appreciate Dr. Lecter's choice of despicable victims. It's called schadenfreude. But actually True is the ultimate democrat. If they annoy him he beats the shit out of them, without distinction in class , sex or age. He seems to remain himself, true to his own monniker.
Written and drawn by A.D. Condo and J.W. Raper who never made much else, , the series started in 1905 and ended in 1927.
More on Everett True at Don Markstein's Toonopedia and Barnacle Press.

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