Bushwacked by Beckett


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Astute readers of Tom Spurgeon’s Comics Reporter will be “wowed” to find out that RC Harvey has “discovered” that Samuel Beckett and Ernie Bushmiller once corresponded, according to Editor & Publisher. Harvey writes:

“Another of Nancy’s most famous fans was Samuel Beckett, author of the supremely existential and endlessly impenetrable play “Waiting for Godot.” Beckett initiated a correspondence with Bushmiller that lasted for several months in late 1952 and early 1953. The exchange between the two, published in 1999 in Hermenaut No. 15 with an introduction by A.S. Hamrah, is a majestic example of two people talking past each other, neither understanding quite what the other is about but each assuming he understands perfectly. The existentialist Beckett assumed from what he saw in Nancy that he could write gags for Bushmiller, that his existential comedy would be in perfect sinc with the strip. But Bushmiller simply couldn’t comprehend what Beckett’s gags were; he saw no humor in them.”

Hey, wow Harv! Maybe comics really aren’t just for kids! That 1999 Hermenaut article was a pretty well known (and beautifully executed) joke. The drawings are by R. Sikoryak. Good to see E&P putting its reporting skills to use. This reminds me of the time Print magazine published their exciting discovery of “Telegraphic Art”, as seen in The Ganzfeld 1. I was working like 3 desks away at the time, and the crack fact checking team there never bothered to ask if it was real. Tom rightly wonders if it’s “too good to be true”. It certainly is.

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3 Responses to “Bushwacked by Beckett”
  1. R. Sikoryak says:

    I should mention that the whole article was conceived and written by A.S. Hamrah. Obviously, he did a very convincing job!

  2. Marc Arsenault says:

    If it happens that Salvador Dali’s Marx Brothers film treatment “Giraffes on Horseback Salads” that was in Harpers about a decade back was a put-on as well, can you please keep it to yourself Dan, as I need to maintain a few illusions.

  3. chan says:

    Bushmiller and Beckett? Yeah, right. Next you’ll tell me that Gary Panter met Philip K. Dick.

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