Editor’s note: In the series, we’ve asked 13 interesting people to consider a work of comic art and tell us what it means to them. They can focus on the character, the history, the artist, the context, how it makes them feel…heck, even how it doesn’t make them feel.
For this installment, we asked comic icon, American Splendor collaborator, and all-around great guy Gary Dumm to create an original illustration as his response. Gary was also kind enough to include some thoughts on the original cover and the process of comic creation.
This cover is an echo of the admonition to “Be careful what you wish for, because you may get it!” It’s a spin on Adam and Eve taking a juicy bite of the apple from the tree of knowledge, and the price that we as humans are required to pay for that byte continues even now.
The use of the frontal area of our brain supposedly elevates us above all of the other animals, and yet its use (or overuse) is possibly the most effective instrument of the destruction of either ourselves and/or the environment of which we are a part.
Learning to read from comics is of great advantage, because words and pictures together simultaneously stimulate both the left and right sides of the brain, a terrific mnemonic device. My mother used them to help teach me to read. Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge were two of our favorites; she’d recite the Scrooge parts and I’d read for Donald. We do remember what we want to remember, but that juxtaposition of the visual and verbal together makes for a far more memorable combination.
If you want to write really good comics you need to read other forms of literature: poetry, novels, philosophy and biography, for example, not just comics. And if you want to draw comics you need to draw everything! Comics at their best can be as engaging, truth-telling, and revelatory of the human condition as any other so-called higher form of literature. As Harvey Pekar, Cleveland’s Poet Laureate, ofttimes said, “With pictures and words you can do anything.”
With comics, what originated as a very ephemeral form of throw-away written and pictorial material has finally come into its own. But what will its future be? All shall be revealed in that spicy and heady gumbo of words and pictures, also known as the comic book.
For more info about Gary and his collaborations with his wife and fellow artist Laura Dumm, please check out https://www.dummart.com.