April 28, 2004

What people forget is that Bil Keane's strip was one of the first to daringly feature completely uncolored people like "Not Me"

Finally got around to reading the New Yorker's profile of Aaron McGruder, which gets to the heart of what I love (the man writes as if he does not give a shit what people think about him) and hate (prevalence of one-liner strips vs. ongoing storylines) about The Boondocks. I look forward to the TV version of the strip, if only because it will necessarily be forced to deal with the problem of the lack of storylines. Anyway, here are some prime excerpts.

"I don't go to the cartoonist conventions," McGruder said. "I went once, to the Reuben Awards -- 'the Oscars of cartooning' -- and I didn't feel very welcome. I felt a palpable sense of resentment. Bil Keane was the m.c., and he opened doing more than one joke that was clearly aimed at me. It was raw -- just some fucked-up shit. O.K., and yet, if I get out of my chair right now and beat the shit out of you, then I'm the bad guy?"

As for his imitators in the comics, McGruder, ever confrontational and protective of his turf, does not find their emulation flattering. "I look at everything from a hip-hop perspective," he says. "My point of view on that is very obvious: get off my dick, leave my shit alone."

McGruder does make a stirring, unexpected call to unity, however.

"A lot of black people ain't up on Monty Python like they should be."

Posted by Francis at 01:36 PM

The thing that really stood out for me in the article was learning that McGruder *doesn't even draw the strip himself* anymore. Damn. He's *29 years old* and he's running way behind deadlines and is *literally* phoning in instructions to someone else so she can draw the strip. That is one fucked-up full-of-himself guy, there.

Posted by: Rose at April 28, 2004 02:25 PM

Yeah. I enjoy the strip -- when I read it -- more for its bracing sense of confrontationalism than actual humor content. I don't think he's a great cartoonist. But as a wack-job celebrity? There he is very entertaining.

His behavior at that event for The Nation is far and away the most out-of-line behavior I've ever heard about from a cartoonist, and all the more so because it's not like they forced him to be there. If he hates events filled with "rich white leftists", then why agree to attend them?

Posted by: Francis at April 29, 2004 05:41 PM