Will the Real John Callahan Please Stand Up?: A Quasi-Memoir

John Callahan, Author, Robin Williams, Introduction by
John Callahan, Author, Robin Williams, Introduction by William Morrow & Company $20 (224p) ISBN 978-0-688-13339-9
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
The emphasis in this ""quasi-memoir"" seems to be on ""quasi,"" since Callahan, the highly politically incorrect quadriplegic cartoonist, already rolled over autobiographical territory in Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot. So if this book, further subtitled ""Lurid Revelations,"" ""Shocking Rejections"" and ""Irate Letters,"" may not be the best introduction to Callahan's work, these outtakes will entertain (and maybe shock) his fans. Rejected cartoons resurrected here include some highly irreverent scenes of nuns, some brutal pet panels and a strip featuring a deceased main character. Callahan's reflections, sandwiched in between the cartoons, include both forgettable anecdotes and from-the-heart confessions. ""Once you've come face-to-face with the Grim Reaper... it gives you a depth, an irreverence, and a dark sense of humor,"" he writes, adding that he draws in deliberately crude fashion in order not to upstage the gag. ""Fan mail"" and news coverage--accompanied by cartoons that raised controversy--include a mix of irate letters and messages from free-speech defenders. Sometimes Callahan seems to take cheap shots (is ""Slanta Claus"" with Asian features really irreverent?), but more often his outrage hits home--and hard. (Jan.)
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