April 01, 2004

Opposites Detract


This could be our last cartoon for a little while. Obviously it is badly drawn. That's because I drew it. John couldn't draw it, because he's in jail.

Some of you may remember a recent cartoon in which we joked about our creative licenses. Well, it's turned out to be no laughing matter. In Georgia, where John resides, the state issues both creative licenses and artistic licenses, the latter being primarily for visual works of art. In my state, we have a single Creative License to cover all works of art (verbal, written, visual, etc.), and the license is easily renewed at the same time one renews a driver's license or a conceal-carry permit. In Georgia, however, one has to renew the two different licenses on different expiration schedules. In short, it's a pain. What does this have to do with John?

John, as you all know, is an excellent caricaturist. Occasionally, for a little extra money, John works caricature gigs at conventions, parties, Bar Mitzvahs, etc. Last night John was drawing at a birthday party for a local college student. Her parents were throwing the bash at their home in a wealthy area of Atlanta called Buckhead. Swimming pool. Live band. Catering. Open bar. Normally the latter is not a problem. John is a seasoned professional. But, for reasons that remain sketchy, John decided to cut loose.

The problem apparently started (I got all this second-hand) when John drew a caricature of a Russian foreign-exchange student who was wearing a shirt that said "Bush Lied, People Died." Now, John has been working these gigs for decades. He knows how to read a subject, how far to push exaggerations like big noses and pot bellies, and how to play on-lookers for laughs. But, for some reason, perhaps the Scotch, John went for the throat. Even the band stopped playing when John screamed "TAH-DAH!" and presented a cartoon of Stalin wearing a t-shirt that said "Socialist Lie, Millions Die."

An argument ensued. Fingers pointed. Spit flew. Ink spilled. No one is sure who threw the first punch, but it turned nasty. John got a shiner, but he managed to draw a large mustache on one of his attackers. With a permanent marker. The brawl fizzled out before the police arrived, and -- probably in hopes of keeping a lid on the incident -- no charges were filed. But John didn't get off the hook completely. The cops checked his Artistic License and found it two and a half months expired. His Creative License was in order though. The last we heard, John was being stuffed in the back of a Fulton County cruiser muttering something about gorillas in tutus.

Drawing without a license is a misdemeanor offense in Georgia. I suspect his license will be suspended, but I'll find out for certain when I post bail. If I have to start a John Cox Legal Defense fund, I'll let everyone know.

Sorry for the bad drawing. Updates to follow.

UPDATE: All right, I think everything will be okay. John is out of jail and at home recuperating with the help of a coffee I.V. Fortunately his license was not suspended, but he's on six-months probation. Legally, he can start drawing cartoons immediately. But that may not happen. I faxed him the sketch above, to try to get him started again. He started saying "elephants and donkeys? Elephants and Donkeys?" over and over, gradually getting louder and louder. Then he hung up. Update to follow.

UPDATE II: John called back and said he's working on a final cartoon based on the sketch above, which I thought was good of him considering his one good eye is blurred by a hangover. Like I said, he's a seasoned professional. We appreciate all the e-mails of support. John even had an offer of safe haven in Crete (thanks, Joseph!). Cartoon to follow.

UPDATE III: John's version of the cartoon is below. I admit, it's a little better than mine. Okay a lot better. Though I think John's evening "colored" the drawing somewhat. John wanted me to to clarify a detail about the story. The guy who blackened John's eye had been arguing from a pacifist position, right up to the point of throwing the left hook, so it caught John a bit off guard. Apparently something John said converted the guy. It's safe to say that today is a date we will not soon forget. ;-)


UPDATE IV: In case there is any lingering doubt regarding the veracity of this story, John's moral character, or -- most importantly -- my ability to draw ... Happy April Fool's Day, everyone.

Posted by Forkum at April 1, 2004 05:44 AM