Home » ARTSY FARTSY » JEAN SHEPHERD Kid Stories–April Fooled & (85) ARTSY Graphic Novels Part 6

JEAN SHEPHERD Kid Stories–April Fooled & (85) ARTSY Graphic Novels Part 6


Humiliated before the entire world.  They heard!  I couldn’t figure out why they did it to me.  Why did they do this to me?  And then I heard Schwartz: “April Fool’s Day!  Wawawa.”  I’ve been had.  Ahhhhhg!  You know, to this day I don’t know whether Patty Remaley ever heard about it.  But she couldn’t possibly not have heard.  She was also part of that little, hardy band of searches after truth, after culture.  Oh, some nights early in the spring, when I’m walking through Central Park looking at those beds of flowers and I see those friendly little tulips looking up with their tongues sticking out at me and the sun shining down over General Sherman’s statue and all the pigeons are flapping around doing what pigeons always do around statues, I can hear those fiendish cackles.  And I can say one thing.  Patty Remaley never mentioned that insane episode out of my checkered life.  Never.

I couldn’t figure out why they did it to me.

Why did they do this to me?

[It’s no wonder that Shepherd,

with the humiliation of being asked to leave

with several other long-time WOR broadcasters,

used this audio instead of doing a live broadcast on his last show,

April Fools Day, 1977.]



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EC COMICS–not Graphic Novels but

“Graphic Short Stories”

(my invented name for them) 

Most all comics in my grammar school and high school days were simple-minded, for little kids (an audience of childish, mindless, kids.): Mickey Mouse and Superman, or those sexy horror comics of interest to many young teenage boys. Then, somehow, I discovered EC comics, (Entertaining Comics) which were well-drawn, artistic, each artist having his own style and approach to a tale, and containing in their stories a goodly amount of intelligence and usually an O. Henry ending—irony and a moral.

Early EC Comics included two war-content titles, Two-Fisted Tales, and Frontline Combat; two sci-fi types, Weird Science, and Weird Fantasy; and three horror types, Tales From the Crypt, Vault of Horror, and Haunt of Fear, plus some even more gory titles I usually avoided. Most all of these  have been republished in fancy, hardcover volumes for serious collectors who like to hearken back to their wet-behind-the-ears interest in the finer things in life (i. e. us nerds.). This series of creative, artistic comics, even had its own serious, quality fanzine and I still have a few of these. The name comes from words spoken by an alien species in an issue:


WoodCover0002 5&6 52


twofistedtales752 EC comics were not graphic novels, but, because of their artistic and literary attributes, they belong in the same context, so they are, in my invented term, “graphic short stories.” As an example of the ironic content, a science fiction story involved a man in love with a young woman. Being married, he couldn’t legally be with her, but had to hide his lover. He put her in cryogenic cold storage, and as part of a space-program, had himself and her shipped to another planet that was being colonized. As he lifted her out of storage to revive her, he tripped and dropped her body, which shattered into millions of frozen bits. END. Not high art/literature, but it caught the imagination of youngsters not used to such “literature” and ironic content. This sci-fi story, as were many other EC stories, was titled with a play on words=”THE TRIP.”

In another story, an Earth man astronaut lands on an inhabited planet somewhere and finds that the humans are medically primitive so people die of the simplest diseases. He cures them with his medicines, the people thinking it must be magic–godlike. In later years the astronaut, then having been tortured and killed, people think he had performed miracles so he became god to them–reminiscent of the story of Jesus. Again, with a play on words, the title=”HE WALKED AMONG US.” I don’t know if the publisher received protest mail. These are but two of the scores of well-drawn, sophisticated tales  ending ironically. (Very sophisticated for us still wet-behind-the-ears nerds who had begun having an interest in art and literature.)


By Matt Groening in his former,

fantastic, cartoon strip, Life in Hell.

Still view-able by googling and in book-compilations.

(Now he’s better known for doing TV’s The Simpsons.)

Oh, there is so much more to come!





  1. Max Schmid says:

    The Haunt of Fear doesn’t count? The Old Witch is going to get you!

  2. Perhaps you could tell me something about Shep leaving WOR. I was overseas when it happened and when back I noted he was not on and I called the station and the lady answering said he had left. It sounded like of his own volition. She had an angry/annoyed tone. But you know otherwise. Could you fill me in.

    • ebbergmann says:

      This how I describe and quote about this, (see pages 366-373 in my 2005 book EXCELSIOR, YOU FATHEAD! THE ART AND ENIGMA OF JEAN SHEPHERD) “‘WOR announced its new format, resulting in personality changes–most notably the departure of four principal news personalities’ Herb Saltzman comments, ‘At WOR the newsroom was very important. We had the greatest selection of voices–John Scott, Henry Gladstone, Lyle Van, Harry Hennessy, Peter Roberts… [a new general manager] came in to ‘youthify’ the station and one of the things he did–he got rid of the whole nighttime block…” this is part of the paragraph. Shep claimed that he had planned to leave–obviously he didn’t want to say to his fans that he had been fired.

  3. Thank you! And a further question: Do you think Shep had gone “downhill”? I always tried to go to his live shows at Princeton when in the States and at other places and the last years saw him constantly pushing “A Christmas Story”, which is a great story, but in my ravenous quest for the always new from Shep, I was a bit let down. Totally my fault.

    • ebbergmann says:

      As I believe, and think I at least implied in my book, his radio shows where his genius–all the rest was just his talent. I do think, as I’ve said, that for me, his second best was JEAN SHEPHERD’S AMERICA which, if it had only been at least a couple of hundred episodes, would have been the Great American Television Documentary.

      • My apologies for not knowing every bit of your book. I did read it years ago. I appreciate your answers. And, I agree, Jean Shepherd’s America showed Jean’s visual talents (I think he did the editing also) to a “T”. As far as I know, he got annoyed with PBS due to their dependence on the Brits for content…it was not American enough for him…and I agree. BTW, where are the shows? In whose vault? I really appreciate you commenting on these things.

      • ebbergmann says:

        What I appreciate regarding JS’sA is that he began to discuss what makes this country interesting–but need to have done so many more! For the second season, try Max Schmid’s The first series is locked in WGBH vaults and they aren’t releasing them.

  4. Looking at the Blobs bit…gee whiz, that was the prototype for the movie (2009) Wall-E….on how humans were “immobile”….great that you presented that here!

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