Strip Tease

From the Vaults: My Offensive College Cartoons

Monday, March 19th, 2012

When I look back at my college comic strip, I can't believe the things that I got away with. At the time, The Tartan -- Carnegie Mellon University's school newspaper -- was independent from school funding, and (sorta) subsisting on advertising revenue.

I assume that was a large part of it... because if the school's administration ever caught wind of what I was doing, I'm sure they would've rejected nearly all of my cartoons (and possibly put me on some type of administrative probation).

In their defense, most of my strips were in really poor taste. I'd grown up indulging in the hyper-sexuality and violence of superhero comic books, not to mention the perversity of 60s and 70s underground comix that I discovered hidden among the shelves of suburban libraries.

Basically, I had no notion of how to toe the line between edgy and raunchy, so I delighted in crossing the line week after week with Strip Tease (later, renamed to Rectal Lampshade... or maybe it was the other way around... I can't remember).

In truth, it was a group effort. My original comics for The Tartan were dull parody of the bland newspaper strips that dominated my youth. It wasn't until my friend Scott joined up as co-writer that I began to push the boundaries of taste on a weekly basis.

And it certainly didn't hurt that the editor of the comics section was also in my small circle of friends. Neal lent his begrudging support to my experiments in button-pushing, keeping me on schedule and occasionally rejecting some comics that were deemed to be "too hot for The Tartan".

Oddly enough, I had nothing to do with the controversial comic strips and photos that ran in The Tartan's infamous April 2004 Natrat, their annual April Fool's issue. While my comics were almost always lewd and rude, they were never hateful.

And speaking of controversy, I can't even link to my work on The Tartan website. Shortly before I graduated, a vindictive member of the newspaper's staff took down, wiping away any online evidence of my affiliation, save for a quick disclaimer at the bottom of an article about my band's reunion performance.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this brief trip down the rocky road... FROM THE VAULTS!!!