My sense of nostalgia is seasoned with a healthy dose of cynicism. I fondly remember the TV shows and books I loved as a child. But my recreations and tributes to them are always run through the filter of adult experience.
When illustrator extraordinaire Daryll Collins showed me an unused project of his, it struck that cord. It was a hilarious blend of childhood nostalgia and adult cynicism. Daryll had written and illustrated a twelve-page, b&w book, called “Are You Our Daddy?” It was the story of two curious twins who just wanted a straight answer from their very busy mom. Their confusion came from the endless stream of men who passed through their house. For all they knew they could be related to the postman, or the plumber, or even the pizza man.
As I said, Daryll’s story resonated with me, plus it was pretty darn funny. So I suggested we pair it with a story of mine to fill out the book and publish it as a parody of those books we all got when we were young. This would be our Little Olden Book.
I began writing and drawing my story while Daryll rendered his in color. He worked in Photoshop and I set about rendering mine in Adobe Illustrator. My story became one of those “let’s find out about different jobs” kind of stories that were so often foisted on children in the hopes they would become productive members of society, and not cartoonists. “Chester Hare Gets a Job” follows a young rabbit who is looking for work and learns the valuable lesson that everyone hates their jobs*.
In designing the book, I wanted to give both of us a cover so it became a flipbook. Read Daryll’s story, turn it over and begin again on mine. I also designed interior pages to mimic the Little Golden Books exactly, even down to the list of “other” titles at the end. Here was some of the funniest material in the collection. Nearly 200 titles of outrageous children’s literature, like: Horton Hears a Ho, The Chicken Bride, The Shy Little Pimp, Goodnight Crack Head, The Bi-Polar Express, ‘Twas The Night Before Trash Day, Snow White’s Racist Rant, DJ & The Sticky PJs, The Dyslexic CBAs, and so on. You get the idea. We had a blast coming up with these.
Above are the book covers, below, some interior pages. Along the left side of the blog is the link to order this book online or catch me at a convention. I always have copies. Maybe one day I’ll do a book that can actually be read to children.
*Except us cartoonists.