Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Few Words About Will Elder’s Obituary

Will Elder's obituary in today’s NY TIMES was a good appreciative obituary pointing out that Will blazed a new satiric trail in humor.

The article said he was a dead-on caricaturist with an anarchic sense of humor – which I related to the Marx Brothers – no respect for authority. He stuffed the background of his parodies and spoofs with puns, silly signs, and weird people doing strange things… which sat the pace of satiric magazines.

Will called these background unrelated fillers “Chicken Fat” saying that “they were part of the strip that gave it some flavor but did little to advance the story line”.

I think he stole the idea from me. Well, My Chicken Fat started in 1965. Elder’s started in the early 1950s… you can figure out by the dates who the thief is.

His son-in-law, Gary VanderBergh, said Will died of Parkinson’s disease. For an artist that must be a horrible disease to have, because it focuses on shutting down your muscles, a little at a time. My mother had Parkinson’s. I watched it work.

I didn’t think you could die of it as you cannot die of “old-age” – Parkinson’s disease closes down life operating systems, such as your heart. But, Parkinson’s disease played an important part, anyway.

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