Late Uncle Fred

For IMMEDIATE RELEASE

This is a story about my Late Uncle Fred. He was an award winning comic book writer. That’s not to say he was very good. His stories were often so bad that people vomited. But he won awards. Not for most induced vomiting, as you’d perhaps expect, but for things like ‘Most challenging read’, ‘Best hype’ and (posthumously) ‘Comics Hall of Fame.’ He was nominated for the ‘Best Writer’ National Comics Award three times in his career, but each time it was widely assumed that this was an orchestrated  joke.

He was known as Late Uncle Fred when he was alive as he was unwaveringly tardy. He was late for dates, dinners, weddings, funerals and – without exception  – deadlines. And now he’s dead the name is doubly fitting.

His editor on Amazing Animal Comics was a man called Oswald. He was madly in love with Late Uncle Fred and this, it turned out, was the only reason he got any work at all. Despite being later with every script. And the vomiting readers. No one knows if Fred put out, but to be honest no one really cares.

After Fred died Oswald offered to pay for his gravestone. The family was shocked, to say the least, to discover that instead of a simple stone he’d spent tens of thousands on a grand musoleum. A testament to his love for Fred. (Consumated or not.)

Fred’s three National Comic Awards are set into the walls of the grey granite structure. Some have joked that Oswald was very kind in placing them at just the right height to vomit on. I thought this was cruel. Initially. Until I thought about it. Really thought about it. I mean – surely any legacy is better than none. To be remembered for something has to trump being forgotten, despite everything. Right?

And so – I invite you, all comics professionals, writers, poets, all of your friends – to a mass puke in honour of the Late Fred Darlington, marking the tenth anniversary of his death.

I expect quite a turnout so I can’t guarantee that you’ll get a shot at one of the infamous awards.

He died at approx. 9am on the 4th of August 2000.
So I propose ten past midday on the 6th.

Dexter Darlington

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