David Bowie


I used a cliche in a cartoon to criticize cliches in cartoons. I wonder if Bowie would have been amused by that.

I was finishing up my cartoon last night/this morning when I saw the news Bowie had passed away at age 69. There was already an obit cartoon for Bowie this afternoon, followed by another and then another. There were pearly gates and star men out the wazoo.

I really hate memorial cartoons. They’re not creative and they’re usually the first idea the cartoonist can come up with, which is always the most obvious idea. I’ve done my share of these cartoons over my 25 year career, but I don’t have to anymore. I do realize that editors and even readers love them. The more obvious the better. The former editor of my former newspaper once told me a memorial cartoon was his all time favorite which really disgusted me. I thought this guy can have a serious affect on my career and he doesn’t know the difference between a good cartoon and very lazy shitty one.

The thing that really bothers me about doing a memorial cartoon for Bowie is that he went against the grain. He was an original. Do you really think the best way to honor the artist and genius is to draw him as starman walking through the pearly gates? Wait for all those “knockin’ on Heaven’s door” cartoons when Dylan dies. It’s gonna be brutal. Hang in there, Bob!

I admit, I’m not a huge Bowie fan. I am a Bowie appreciator. You have to recognize the guy was a genius. A genius who could poke fun of himself and wasn’t always uptight. I was aware of Bowie when I was a kid, and Under Pressure with Queen gave me a new appreciation for him. Let’s Dance featuring the guitar playing of Stevie Ray Vaughn really brought him to my attention. China Girl still gets my rocks off. There’s no denying the guy could write, had a great voice…a very distinctive voice.

I was once told that I resembled David Bowie. Don’t laugh. That was over 30 years ago so it probably doesn’t apply today. I will end on the note that Bowie’s real last name is Jones.

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  1. Ah. The best memorial cartoon for Bowie I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a lot of them). Bowie would love it, I’m sure, Clay.


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