A Pierre Berton Comic

I was just presented with a copy of The Someday Funnies, a comics anthology that has been in limbo since 1974. Back then, editor Michel Choquette got the bright idea of having various people contribute to a book of comics about the 1960s. He had connections at The National Lampoon and backing from Rolling Stone Magazine, so it looked like it was going to happen — but it didn’t, until now.

Contributors include a great many comics artists, both mainstream and underground, and non-comics folk like William Burroughs, Fredrico Fellini, and Frank Zappa. Pierre Trudeau wanted to submit a strip but didn’t. Pierre Berton did.

Pierre Berton was a newspaper columnist, popular historian, and TV host. I plan on re-reading The Invasion of Canada, his look at the War of 1812, pretty soon. Probably his best known books are Klondike, about the history of Berton’s home town, Dawson City, Yukon, and The National Dream,about the building of the CPR. Along the way he made the only surviving interview with Bruce Lee, defined a Canadian as someone “who can make love in a canoe”, and, at the age of 84, gave a nationally televised demonstration of how to roll a joint. He was voted the celebrity most Canadians would like to invite to their July 1 barbecue. Here’s his comic:

Hair was a big deal in the 1960s because symbolized all those youthful forces that adults could not control. The musical Hair wound up with the main character being drafted (the movie was a little different) and that was the ideal — cut off all that long hair and show those kids some discipline like we had in the 1940s during the Good War. This attitude pre-dated the 1960s. It was in the 1950s that I sat with a bunch of other kids in a phys ed class being lectured about hair. This was long before the Beatles, this was when wicked hair had sideburns, a waterfall in the front, and a duck’s ass in the back. The red-faced gym teacher lecturing us said that human males did not gussy themselves up to attract females, birds did, maybe, but not humans. Our ears perked up, if it worked for birds… It wasn’t long before I got a pink shirt, charcoal slacks with a belt in the back, and pointy-toed Italian slip-ons (dago daggers as they were called then.) I still had short hair, though. For a while.

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2 comments on “A Pierre Berton Comic

  1. Michel Choquette says:

    Hello Mike,

    Great to see someone picking up on the Berton strip. It’s one of my favorites in the book.

    Didn’t know about your interesting blog. Will check it out now and then.

    I Love the Mero header! What was the poem about? And how did the art end up at your aunt’s?

    Michel Choquette

    • mikulpepper says:

      Thanks, Michel. It’s not original Mero art but a print of the kind that was pretty common in the 20s. There’s gold (not leaf but metallic shiny) and it looks swell. Similar prints at my great aunts’ were from a series illustrating the Rubiyat of Omar Khayam. The full poem: “Here where the firelight softly gleams/In comradeship we bask/To sip the nectar’d wine o’dreams/from Friendhip’s sparkling flask/And here we bring with cheery smile/Our thoughts of Love and Art/And all things that are worth the while/to satisfy the Heart./Sweet shrine o’ dreams.” M. Hathaway was the poet. There’s a framed example for sale here. $195 but I think a lot of that is for the gilt frame.

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