Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Adam Rich Must Die!

If you were alive, and living in America during the latter half of the 1970s, you might well recall a brief publishing phenomenon known as the “photo-novel”, a sad attempt to package, in cheap paperback form, grainy, black and white stills from movies and television shows such as Cheech and Chong’s Up in Smoke, Battlestar Galactica and Mork and Mindy, with dialog balloons imposed, like the fumetti photo comics first made popular in the U.S. during the 1950s by Harvey Kurtzman and his crew of Mad alumni.
Having been the proud owner of all three above-mentioned literary photo classics, I was eventually inspired to parody their opportunistic and ungainly approach to story-telling, one which, as you can well imagine, required a great deal of pruning of any narrative substance the typical Dickensian episode of Mork and Mindy might have offered in its original incarnation.
The year was 1981. I was a young, seventeen year-old art student, already campaigning for my dismissal from the two-year institution that daily sucked away at my soul. As I had done throughout high school, I ignored almost all dictated assignments, instead busying myself with projects of my own inspiration. Many of these involved cartooning, of one form or the other. These back-of-the-room productions featured a stable of rotating characters, of which Billy Doom was a favorite. Billy was a beanie-topped little nightmare of anti-authoritarian fervor whose arch nemesis just happened to be Adam Rich, the marshmallow-faced child star of Eight is Enough, a show whose dying embers had then just about gone out.
The following unfinished masterpiece of disgruntled art student boredom, charmingly entitled Adam Rich Must Die!, stars Billy Doom, along with Rex, his sidekick dog (as played with commendable gusto by Mick Jagger), as well as cameos by everyone from Mad Max to Bob Parker, in a nonsensical story built upon a slapdash collage of photos, clip art, old comic book panels and my own simple cartooning. I present it now, in all its incomplete, abbreviated glory, as testament to the entirely stubborn nature of a young artist, one who managed to
fabricate amusement from the dregs of any given situation. Enjoy! –J.W.E.

PS Sorry about the abrupt ending. I’m sure you can apply your own imagination and find a suitable ending. Literally anything will do. That's by design.