The incredible story of the cartoonist John Callahan


Published on Aug 28, 2018


Two events have marked as a negative in his life: at the age of 8 years, was harassed by a teacher, then start drinking at the age of twelve years “to hide the pain of abuse”; the other event, which it will become a cartoonist, is an automobile accident at the age of 21 years because of the alcohol (even if it was not him to drive the car, but a friend of his, with whom he shared days of drinking).

After the accident, she began to draw pinching the pencil between your hands, with an artistic style visual of course, often approximate, but still readable, in which many of you have seen the style of William Steig, James Thurber, Richard Condie, and Ben Wicks. From 1983 until his death, the work of Callahan appeared in the newspaper the Portland Willamette Week.

Callahan took care of the topics of the macabre and physical disabilities, with a black humor all his own, and that is well represented in his “quasi-memoir”, Will the Real John Callahan Please Stand Up? Even if for topics and boards share something with Charles Addams, Gahan Wilson, and especially Charles Rodrigues, his style is much more aggressive and did not fail to raise controversy on its work, even with boycotts organized.

Callahan sbeffeggiava these reactions of the critics, while he stated that his only compass were the reactions of the people with real disabilities, in the belief that compassion and condescension, often a reflection of the hypocrisy, they were the only thing that is “truly obnoxious.”

On the works of Callahan have been made two animated series: Pelswick, a show for children on Nickelodeon, and Quads!, a co-production franco-canadian, which retains the violence, the joy of living and the political incorrectness of his cartoons.

Callahan quickly realized that cartooning was a form of manifestation of emotional for him; for this he wanted to pursue a master's degree in counseling at Portland State University. However, his worsening health he was unable to finish it.

In 2005, filmmaker of Dutch Simone de Vries made a documentary on Callahan, who later died on July 24, 2010 of complications following an operation, ‘Raak me waar ik voelen kan’ (‘Toccami where I can feel’).

The artist was last dedicated a biographical film, "Don't Worry", directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Joaquin Phoenix, Jack Black and Jonah Hill, is expected to film in Italy for the 29 August 2018, which traces the life of the artist, telling the story of his dramas, moral and physical, but also his desire to express his vision of the world.


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