When I did this portrait of myself as RAT FINK for the cover of the COMICS JOURNAL #176, I meant it as a tip of the hat to BIG DADDY ROTH and how he’d helped and inspired me in my youth. In the full length interview I tell the story of how I entered one of his “Draw The Monster” contests and got a runner up prize and my name printed in BIG DADDY’s magazine. This came at a pivotal time in my young life (I was probably 12 or so) when my parents and teachers were all working on me to give up doing art for a sensible career choice. Getting that sort of small recognition from one of my heroes gave me an inner certitude that the authority figures in my life were wrong and I was on the right track.
When doing the illustration in 1995, I finally intuited what BIG DADDY had hit on with his trademark style of cartooning, too. There’s a deep existential truth in what it means to be a 20th century human consciousness inhabiting the flesh in ROTH’s work. I can’t look at it anymore without smiling and thinking to myself, “Yeah. He gets it!”