Clowny: A Pictorial History

Clowny. A man? A myth? A pop culture icon or simply a scary disembodied clown head? Or as a painting instructor in college once commented to me, “It looks like two sunny side up eggs, a bun, and a smiling sausage on a plate”? Probably none of those things. Much has been written and postulated about Clowny over the years, all of it by me. Let’s take a vainglorious and introspective look back at this deformed reject that has been quietly populating my comics for untold decades. Well, three. I guess around about three. Decades.

PROTO-CLOWNY aka PRE-CLOWNY CLOWNY
In the art/woodshop/hide-from-Security wing of Haverhill High School, there is (was?) a wall that got muralized in the early 1990s. When the administration complained about the “666” on the balloons, I deftly sidestepped their censorship with that barely-opaque bloop of paint on the middle balloon. The American flag lettering at the bottom says “Bucket Monkey.” I backdated it 1973 and many people believed it. Mister Reusch‘s companion piece was a bit more… shall we say ‘technically refined.’

A cover for the Boston comic collection Don’t Shoot! It’s Only Comics! (1993), the official MASSART comic anthology which preceded (and continued after) my editorialship of FORTY-3

Both zines publications featured my too-long-running science fiction comic Bughouse (later BUGHAUS), which proto-Clowny was a part of. Proto-Clowny might have been named Ernie, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to read that shitty comic just to find out for this blog post.

CLOWNY CLOWNY

Most every other Clowny sighting derives from this single Clowny image, which was a tiny ballpoint margin-scribble on a sketchbook page that got scanned in because there was something else more important on the page.

That clowny print is amazing…its totally surreal pop art.” – Frank Kozik. It’s endorsements like this by well-respected designers like Frank which led to fives of tens of sales of the Clowny art print (2004).

AVERT YOUR EYES

A Turn It Up! print ad paints a frightening picture of the coming apocalypse…

Clowny has of course reared his slightly misshapen head in The Optimist, both bodily…

…in t-shirt merchandise form…

… and a strangely cleaner version of him has become my promotional art…

…which is lifted from this comic…

Clowny has also lived a fulfilling and meaningful life over in the gigposters.com forums, often appearing at just the right moment to say or do just the right thing, including:

The Great Campaign of ’08…

…the Banksy-like overtaking of the metropolitan landscape…

…and on Liz Phair’s nipples.

He found a home on my old business card…

…and, uh… lots of other places…

What does the future hold for Clowny? What does Clowny hold for the future? Perhaps the fate of humankind. Who am I to say? I am merely a bit player in His Great Unfolding Story. We all are. And in that, we should find contentment, and perhaps… hope?

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