“Tot”: Ferry Tale by Leo Burdak & Ted Mann

Burdak baby 1

Artwork: FERRY TALE by artist Leo Burdak and writer Ted Mann (excerpted from “National Lampoon Presents The Very Large Book of Comical Funnies” (1975).


No, I’m not some closet baby hater.

If I had any of my own, mine would be the first heart to sink into my shoes or leap out of my throat if anything such as happens in the posted stories happened to Ricky III (This Time It’s Personal), little Rickella, or even the horrid Rickameana Jane.

Actually, the adorable, adult-like(?) tykes are MEANT to be funny. The guilty laughter at all our often beleaguered fates. So, go ahead…let it out. They’re only cartoons.

But, the real question here is, ‘Why toddlers and why so many?’

The National Lampoon Presents The Very Large Book of Comical Funnies (1975), that is why. One of three of its features that took permanent lodging in my mind from
high school ’til ever on.

Burdak baby 2

Specifically, here, FERRY TALE by artist Leo Burdak and writer Ted Mann, a dire little jawdropper about an evil minded, diapered little shit shedding his precautionary bindings and taking over the travellers’ deck of a ferry boat. Enforcing his will with throwing stars, he then makes his move into horrific ‘extreme suckle’ w/ a young female passenger.

Therefrom, napping it off.

For lack of buying any of my own copies, it took me some years before I realized they were parodying Greg Irons’ horror comix. The imitation is mostly spot on. Even some of the faces and body shapes appear to be artistic ‘steals’. The book was a faux history of comics, you see. The story part of its ‘Undergrounds’ section.

The look of the pages and panels are a mime as well, although the Lampoon story, otherwise ten pages, is stacked by the pairs in vertical columns. (For some reason, I always misremember it as being in a horizontal). This format adds to the overall peculiarity.

The wry, dry wit and darkly stilted and standard Edgar Allan Poesies of the tandem text is not to be underesteemed or underestimated in its effect upon this errant youth.

It’s not that I have had to pull out my copy, pore over it and eyeball each nuance every time I did or do one of my baby tales. I only know the names and details of Ferry Tale now since pulling it out once again, after many years unseen, for the writing of this piece. But, I do always know he’s in my mind someplace, the nameless uberbrat, and can readily note him as a hair trigger.

It is that such things set the parameters for what is negatively possible in one’s own work. Just how far DO you want to go? And in what manner? Especially after being hit with them as a teenager.

Curiously, proof, too, that a parody underground can have as great an effect on someone impressionable as a source-story more inherently ‘underground’, Irons’ in this case; and greater than a National Lampoon’s lampoon is normally expected to have.

Truly, my tots are intentionally much less malign. Tho’ their worlds may not be. Hence, I and they will compensate as we can.

My thanks, again, to all those involved in their dissemination.” — Rick Grimes (Jan. 30th, 2010)

My stories: Hive Baby<> The New Ones <> Hive Baby Two

Or read those three here

The Usual

Issue VI (Six) (pgs 116-120)

<Stories list                                                                              Recommended>

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