Unsung Heroes of Cartooning 3

(The Third and Last in the Series)

Bill Ouchly was born in the small town of Rusting Bumper, Michigan in the autumn of 1958. His formative years were spent at play in the polluted hills and toxic lakes outside of his hometown. Early in his youth, Bill discovered that he had artistic ability. His initial drawings were of his surroundings and when he was 14, he developed a cartoon strip featuring lovable mutant creatures that lived in a town dump. The editors and publishers at the many syndicates he submitted to, however, deemed his work too depressing and his project eventually ended up cast aside, ending up in the Rusting Bumper landfill.

It was about this time that Bill began to grow extra arms and hands. This wasn’t as unusual as it may seem to most of us, but it was fairly common in places like Rusting Bumper. He also possessed an extremely tough immune system, as most long-time residents of the place had, and aside from his extra limbs, was in robust good health.

Once this growth spurt had completed itself, Bill found himself gifted with a total of four complete sets of arms and hands. Except for some radical changes in his wardrobe, provided by one of the many tailor shops in his area which specialized in such work, he went through life unaffected. He discovered that he had complete control of his new arms and hands and could draw several things at the same time. It was this ability that eventually made him a wealthy man. Bill began working for other artists, turning out a week’s worth of drawing in mere hours. He was in demand by cartoonists everywhere and ended up working solely for others, all but abandoning the idea of producing his own cartoon-strip. He mastered several styles over the years and co-authored countless strips, animated films, and graphic novels.

Periodically, he would return briefly to his original dream of doing his own cartoon-strip and developed a few. Among them were features called “Superfundman”, “Dump-Chumps”, and “Oozies”. None of these caught the fancy of the syndicates, however, which seemed to prefer strips about talking animals and precocious children.

Bill still lives in Rusting Bumper. Although now retired, he still dabbles in art and has recently taken up the banjo. Also, the bass fiddle, the piano, drums, and pocket cornet.


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