Monday, July 3, 2017

Michael Dougan

Michael Dougan (born 1958?) has always been one of my favorite alternative cartoonists and yet he's one I hardly ever hear anybody talking about.  He was very prolific in both the 1980's and 1990's contributing to the seminal anthologies of the time such as Weirdo, Drawn & Quarterly and later Zero Zero (Fantagraphics).  I always found his short stories to be the best thing about these publications.  His storytelling is sometimes autobiographical and sometimes straight-up fiction - but it is always concerned with people - and usually down on their luck people at that.  There are two collections of Dougan's work that were published.  One is called East Texas from 1988.  The other is the absolutely essential I Can't Tell You Anything, published by Penguin books in 1993 (maybe Penguin's first serious foray into the Graphic Novel realm).  This book collects some of Dougan's very best short stories and really shows his range.  

Dougan is a cartoonist who could've broken into the alternative mainstream, if there is such a thing, and if the world was at all fair (think Peter Bagge, Lynda Barry or Matt Groening).  Dougan was a regular contributor to Seattle's The Stranger during the "grunge" era and he also was a regular contributor to the late SPY magazine.  He also had some spots in Entertainment Weekly and Esquire!  A pilot for an animated series, created by Dougan, was produced by MTV studios and shown late night on Liguid Television.  It was called The Dagwoods and can be viewed on YouTube here.

Unfortunately, any sort of fame seemed to have eluded Dougan and this puzzles me to no end.  I encourage you to seek out his books and find out what you have been missing.

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