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Reelin’ In The Spears

I think you’d better call John ’cause it don’t look like they’re here to deliver .. the mail.
-more Neil

I was showing someone an old comic strip of John Spears the other day, by way of explaining who he was. It was in a large album of other strips I’d done, with titles like Dad in: The Diet and Jim Moye in: Jim Moye, Intercom. The response came back “you really missed your calling,” which was a bit confusing, given the album in front of me. Nobody called, but I still drew them. I suppose I may have failed to understand the potential global appeal of Dad in: Painfully Shy, but at least I got it down on paper.

This particular early nineties Spears strip featured him crashing through the restroom door of our company lunchroom after he became convinced that someone was blocking his exit from the other side. Of course nobody was – he had simply failed to turn the handle and unlock the door. The resulting expressions on the faces of print department veteran Kevin Chan and his domino playing cronies were strip-worthy in themselves. I’d used the Coyote-Roadrunner effect of exact body outline to represent Spears breaking on through to the other side. In reality the door was broken at the lock and badly splintered. As others shuffled in for their lunch breaks and observed the structural carnage, “Spears thought he was trapped” was the only explanation necessary. I suppose we can all relate, at different times in our lives.

I guess I’m whoring the old boy out a bit by writing about this, but my conscience can live with that in light of my limited audience and the Powderfinger obscurity of my references. “He’s got a webpage,” my mom informed a neighbor the other night. A little too close to “she also tap dances” from where I was standing. That was one consistently admirable quality about Spears – no matter how brutally and insightfully over the top the depiction, he preferred it to not being noticed at all. He was never one of those to profess not wanting the attention while secretly craving the reverse. And you can always replace a lunchroom door.

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