Saturday, March 11, 2006

Starstruck

Ooh! Ooooohhhhh! Paint me purple and call me Jehoshaphat!! Guess who I just met!!!?!?!?!?!!

I just actually met Sam Hurt, the cartoonist who drew Eyebeam and later its spinoff, Queen of the Universe (starring Ratliff's niece, Peaches).

It's possible that a few people outside Austin - and maybe even two or three inside the city limits - have not heard of these strips. Eyebeam ran in The Daily Texan during the years I was at UT, the mid-to-late eighties; and even from an aughties perspective it's still magnificently surreal. In the eighties, of course, it was WAYHAYHAY the hell out there. Hank the Hallucination was elected President of the UT Student Government Association on the strength of the strip's surreality, y'all. Those were heady times - it was kind of an uprising against the constraints of Reagan-era reality.

I had heard that Sam Hurt was a Travis Heights resident, years ago. Turns out he lives right across the street from our apartment complex and rents studio/office space here. I had assumed he was something along the lines of a lawyer, since I had the impression Eyebeam was a somewhat autobiographical character, and was in law school and a newly fledged attorney back when I was reading the strip every day.

Actually, as I was reading it in my late teens and very early twenties, the strip had a tremendous influence on my adult sense of humor. You know how you have lifetime running jokes? I sing "My eyes are still curly and my hair is still blue" from time to time; or like Beth, the quintessential bowhead, perusing a bridal magazine while Sally exasperatedly informs her that not every woman just wants to find a husband, I'll sometimes say, "You know, if you don't speak English, I'm not going to be able to understand you."

Tonight he was swimming in the apartment complex pool while my husband and I were drinking beer down on the patio. My son, who's into striking up conversations with strangers, introduced himself and then us. I was cool and collected and didn't talk much. "Oh yeah," I said, "we've read your strip." We chatted for a while and then he left. Not until he was gone did I jump up and down and make squeaky noises and fan myself with my hands. Yay for self-control!

Of course, if he's at all in the habit of googling for his name or references to his strips, my secret is out, now isn't it?

Sam Hurt! Huzzah!! Zowie kablowie!!!

3 Comments:

At March 11, 2006 10:19 PM, Blogger Bill D said...

Jehoshaphat, you are so lucky! Why can't I meet Jhonen Vasquez?

Anyway, hooray for self-control, indeed!

Bill D.

 
At March 12, 2006 8:07 AM, Anonymous Michael said...

Sam is a great guy, and he's working on a painting of his dad for a Father's Day Art Show I'm putting together in June.

He'll be at the big opening on June 18th as well. Here's more info about it: http://www.schliefkevision.com/art/fathersday

 
At March 12, 2006 10:21 AM, Blogger Beth said...

Thanks so much for the info, Michael!

Yes, Sam seemed really nice. Of course I always figured he had to be cool.

This has been yet another "Yay Austin" moment. I do seem to have a lot of those, don't I?

 

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