The New Yorker gag cartoon is quite a unique creature. It comes in many flavors, the best being “strange.” The master of strange is Gahan Wilson. It’s quite a blend that has been published for the last 50 years in The New Yorker, Playboy, and National Lampoon. His work takes you to a dark place while putting a smile on your face. It’s not an easy thing to do. I remember, as a kid in the ’70s, attracted to all kinds of comics that unveiled a mysterious world, one often made up of hapless adults. God help anyone seeking answers from a Gahan Wilson cartoon–but it helped me! I’m not sure how but it did. In order to celebrate and better understand Gahan Wilson, and his amazing work, Filmmaker Steven-Charles Jaffe created a documentary, “Born Dead, Still Weird,” which is currently part of a Kickstarter campaign (runs thru August 17) that you can view here.
A funny thing happened on the way to somewhere else. I literally stepped into the “Born Dead, Still Weird” documentary some years back. I happened to be in town and I dropped by The New Yorker offices to show a batch of my cartoon gags. Little did I know that Gahan Wilson was in the green room, along with all the regular contributors, awaiting an audience with Bob Mankoff, cartoon editor for The New Yorker. Now, I’m from Seattle, so it wasn’t like a usual thing. I kept putting off my visit to the editor’s office because I was so enthralled and wanted to make the moment last. I remember signing a waiver, just in case my interview with Bob Mankoff was used in the film. I was invited back to continue to submit work. I left, had lunch, and continued with my life. And I always wondered about this documentary!
Now, we come to the good part. We fans of comics and art and wonderful things love Gahan Wilson and his work. We want this documentary to succeed in a very big way. If it can fulfill the requirements necessary to be considered for an Academy Award nomination, then that will be a big leap forward to getting everyone to know about this documentary. The current Kickstarter campaign is all about meeting the criteria for nomination and that primarily involves renting movie theaters for special screenings. You can read all about it at the Kickstarter campaign here.
An Academy Award nomination alone is a huge deal and “Born Dead, Still Weird” is a perfect candidate for Best Documentary. Let’s all do what we can to see this campaign get funded.