Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Forgotten SCREW Cover Art of Tony Millionaire

MAAKIES cartoonist Tony Millionaire has been giving me shit over some mildly risque designs I drew recently for BROKEN SKATEBOARDS, (available for purchase here: http://brokenskateboards.nl/products/ ) so I thought I'd dig deep into my archives in order to spend the next few weeks exploring the forgotten SCREW cover art of Tony Millionaire.

Known to today's readers primarily as a children's author, few would suspect that the avuncular creator of wholesome properties like BILLY HAZELNUTS and TONY MILLIONAIRE'S SOCK MONKEY™ was in earlier decades impoverished enough to turn up, hat-in-hand at the door of  at 116 West 14th Street in NYC, address of the World's Greatest Newspaper? Truly those must've been dark times.

Millionaire's SCREW cover drawings, while in no way erotic, are interesting nonetheless for the peek they offer into what is clearly a uniquely disturbed imagination. Let's begin our exploration with SCREW #1,416, dated April 22nd, 1996: the cover drawing shows a creature, (most likely an ape) dressed in human clothing, preparing to reap a harvest of what are apparently human breasts, while a nude woman watches angrily from a perch in a nearby tree.

This unsettling image leaves the viewer with a multitude of questions: what does the simian gardener plan to do with his vegetables post-harvest? Is he engaged in some evil experiment involving genetically-altered crops? Why is the nude woman displeased? Is she the monkey's spouse, and if so, is she jealous of the attention being showered on this garden of human breasts? Why would a woman be married to a monkey, and more importantly, how did this cover drawing, laden with implications of bestiality, slip past SCREW's guidelines banning any depiction of human/animal relationships?

Perhaps its best not to ponder the meaning of this drawing too long. I fear that in this case, the search for understanding will send the viewer down a twisting tunnel that leads to confusion, despair, and ultimately madness. More Millionaire next week!