Monday, January 30, 2017

A Month of... Celebrities in Comics, Day 30: "It's always funny until someone gets hurt. Then it's just hilarious."

I've been a huge fan of the late great stand-up comedian Bill Hicks since the late great record label Rykodisc reissued his routines on CD in the late '90s. His observations are vulgar, cutting, and, for so many of us, absolutely true. Bill's stand-up routines were less timed comedy than savage rants against culture and the system, and his work definitely isn't for everyone. Since he died of pancreatic cancer in 1994, I missed ever seeing Bill live on stage. But his live performances on CD are so immediate, raw and emotional that you can feel you're actually there. Like Jesse Custer was:

Panels from Preacher #31 (November 1997), script by Garth Ennis, pencils and inks by Steve Dillon, colors by Pamela Rambo, letters by Clem Robins

Without Bill Hicks to spur on Jesse, the events of the entire run of Preacher would have never taken place. That's a much larger lynchpin role than comics usually give to a celebrity guest appearance. You may laugh or you may wince at his routines, but becoming a Bill Hicks fan made me a better person, more critical and cautious about what we're told is the truth and why we should strive to pull ourselves out of the gutter.

(Continued in today's 365 Days of Defiance.)

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