The Someday Funnies (Michel Choquette) - Abrams Comicart - 2011 - 216 pages

I first saw Michel Choquette when he appeared as one-half of comedy team The Times Square Two  who played on The Smothers Brothers Show and other places during the 1960s.  TTST was a very funny concept but probably was ahead of its time.  In the 1970s, Choquette switched to magazine humor as a contributing editor for National Lampoon.  While working at NL in 1971, he first got the idea to collect all of the talented artists, domestic and international, from the 1960s and get them to explain that decade in words and cartoons.  And so, he gathered the work of 169 artists including Sergio Aragones, Henry Beard, C.C. Beck (1910-1989), Vaughn Bode (1941-1975), William S. Burroughs (1914-1997), Will Eisner (1917-2005), Federico Fellini (1920-1993), Russ Heath, Sean Kelly, Doug Kenney (1946-1980), Jack Kirby (1917-1994), Harvey Kurtzman (1924-1993), Bobby London, Don Martin (1931-2000), Chris Miller, Gray Morrow (1934-2001), Ralph Reese, Arnold Roth, Steve Skeates, Art Spiegelman, Ed Subitzky, Roy Thomas, Pete Townshend, Gahan Wilson, Tom Wolfe, Wallace Wood (1927-1981), Frank Zappa (1940-1993) and many, many others you probably do not know.  The only problem with the Funnies is that it is not very funny.  And, only a few of the artists really commented on the 1960s.  Much of the material seems to be recycled or repurposed for this volume.  It is not surprising to me that it took Choquette almost 40 years to find a publisher.  The find is an elegant, large-format, coffee-table book printed on quality paper.  And, after 40 years, this is a slice-of-art-history work that deserves to be in print.  Of the 129 separate articles created by 169 contributors (plus Choquette drawings on most of the pages), the one that nailed the 1960s for me is #91 ("It Was All a Clever Ruse Comix") by Chris Miller and Gray Morrow.  The Miller/Morrow team presented the 1960s as they should have been:

1. John Kennedy ends the Vietnam War.
2. Nikita Khruschev cancelled plans to place nuclear missiles in Cuba.
3. Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner were not killed in Selma, Alabama.
4. Spiro Agnew retired from politics to be a floorwalker in Baltimore.
5. Richard Nixon also retired from politics after losing the California governor's race.
6. The Mafia and U.S, corporations joined forces conserve energy and reduce pollution.
7. Lee Harvey Oswald oversleeps.
8. Aristotle Onassis marries Janis Joplin.
9. Middle East drinking water is purified to create gentle, reflective people.
10. Marijuana is legalized and all drug convictions are forgiven.
11. Black Panthers start a children's breakfast program.
12. J. Edgar Hoover's liver burst during the inauguration of Robert Kennedy.
13. Abbie Hoffman puts LSD in the Chicago water supply during the Democratic convention.
14. Eugene McCarthy warns Martin Luther King in time.
15. Charles Manson marries Mel Lyman.

Of course, none of that happened.  [JAM 5/1/2018]