sick animal (TABOO #2, 1989)
Artwork: “sick animal” (as featured in 1989’s TABOO #2, SpiderBaby Grafix) ©1989, Rick Grimes.
GRIMES: ” ‘sick animal’ is based on the very rare few times I’ve dreamed of human-faced animals. Usually they’re crying, (who wouldn’t in that condition?), and portend or represent some peculiarly emotional area that apparently needs some tending, release or dissembling. Can’t say I’ve ever really caught on to just what any of them were there for, each time. But attention to them and any sympathy felt for them seems enuff as the dreams and specific creatures don’t recur and were rather far between. And they are fascinating, startling, appalling. Like medieval bestiaries. No doubt archetypal of the partly manifest in life.
I don’t recall right now if ‘sick animal’ himself was from a dream. Think he was contrived imitation of the above. Must look into old notes. I love him, though. From ‘afar’.
The dictionary that mashes him in the story was based on one we actually had in our garage, (also the setting — that is the side ‘alley’ of our garage where he appears and charges from). It was one of those dictionaries that comes in sections throo some mail order deal and which winds up being a huge thing. My father actually made the leather cover for it and kept it out there in his leather shop. Maybe used to use it a time or too. That was back when I was an older kid in the late ’60s or early ’70s and I believe it’s long gone now. It was such a space hog. The words I used for its pages came from cruising the pages of another, even older dictionary. They’re in the right order but I picked only words I wanted to use. The so-called protagonist is just another of those unfortunate surrogates for myself, rather than have it all be point-of-view, who will probly never reappear.
Whereas, from the outset, or in process of drawing his panels consider ‘sick animal’ himself a definite ‘keeper’. If it weren’t for him I’d discard the story itself.
Have even, since, drawn him once more, again by the clothesline pole, for what I still hope will one day be a postcard. Mainly to restore his life to him and any good graces he may yet have toward us.
Later still, I considered a story track where you could follow him like a stray dog, throo the city, but realize I have no interest in all of the surrounding ‘people’ that would accompany such an enterprise. The ‘trouble’ is all my best characters or even any of them, have potential as ‘stars’ of their own epics. But, as I’m not a Methuselah, I have to settle for one or two or so epic and let something by the wayside.
No doubt I will draw sick animal again, in some setting, to show if nothing else that he is un/well and un/happy.
His ‘postcard’ debut has an implication of being just before the actions of the story, that he will, so, be fatefully injured. But, it could also be later, post recovery.
Next time, I should draw him in a distinctly different setting.
He hasn’t the faculty for speech, by the way. And is probably nonverbal. His little brain just isn’t quite there or up for that. ‘The boy jest ain’t right.’ ” — Rick Grimes (December 22nd, 2008).
+GRIMES: “First, a minor point: sick animal is running from the garage and into the alley. And the encyclopedia was acquired in supermarket, weekly-purchased sections, not by mail, which is not what I meant to write.
Also, I found initial notes for the story, dated May, 1988. There is no indication that it was a dream at all.” — Rick Grimes (March 15th, 2009).