July 28th, 2010 WW Editorial Staff | Letters to the Editor
 

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wweek.com Readers Speak On… “John Callahan, Dead At 59”

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“This is so sad. What a loss of an interesting, creative man who was always cutting edge. He will be missed. He changed the way I viewed many things in life. He never knew he had this impact on me. I was just a face on the street that he would pass from time to time. I am grateful to him for his humor, and spirit.” —Ellen

“The first interview I ever did as a journalist was for our magazine, Emergency Horse. It was with John.…. I dropped the copy off with my boys and the next day I came into our HQ and they said:

‘Well, we have a great title for the interview but we’re afraid it’s too insulting.

‘What is it?’

“‘Tales From the Crip.”’

Well, they hadn’t met John. I said simply, “That’s the title.” And it was.

I later interviewed the highest ranking military officer in the nation and it wasn’t half so nerve-wracking as that first with John. And not a hundredth as funny.” —Curt

“I was at The Oregonian in 1985 when we started A&E (originally planned as The Big O). We all thought, ‘Great, we can use John’s cartoons. He’s funny AND he lives here.’ Management said, basically, ‘Are you kidding? People will be offended.’

And I thought, ‘Wait a minute, if HE can see the funny side…’ But that was the thing with John, you either got him or you didn’t. It’s like trying to tell a stranger about rock ’n’ roll.” —Paul Duchene

“I loved John. We had many great phone calls over the years about comedy, and life in general. He would come up with these observations on the phone that would just floor me. One time he was talking about how horrible TV shows were and he said, “I can’t sit through them and I’m in a wheelchair.” Well, you’re out of the chair now, John…I hope Portlanders know how much courage this man had.

And what a great mind: Twisted to be sure, insensitive at times, but beyond brilliant. Plus he evolved—his mind continued developing as the years went on. His brain was a soul.… I thought he was the most interesting person in Portland.

John, here’s my last joke for you: I didn’t know your health was failing, but I knew you were sick.” —Bill McDonald

“I first met John in 1980 prior to publishing his first cartoon. I think he got paid $50 and the state took his money because he was on Social Security at the time….. He just shook his head and smiled

John was living proof that one can rise above adversity…

None of us have any excuse for the ‘poor me’ bullshit. Love you, John.” —David Flack

 
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