I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of “success.”What exactly is the definition of success and a successful life? And I’ve always been fascinated by people like Phil Spector and Jeffrey Epstein, who go from being such great “successes” to such great failures in a blink of an eye. The ole “penthouse-to-the-outhouse” routine.
When I was a young man, like most people, I wanted to be a success. And I strived mightily to be successful. I wanted to have a successful life. And like most people I had my own particular standard of what “success” was.
For some people “success” is winning the Pulitzer Prize or the Academy Award. For others, “success” is helping little old ladies cross the street and donating their time and money to the local homeless shelter. You know what I’m saying? There are many different barometers that people use to determine what is or isn’t “success.”
In my own life I’ve had moments where I considered myself a great great success by my barometer, a Great Man. Then I’ve had other moments where I considered myself a Complete Failure, nothing more than dogshit on the bottom of someone’s shoes. And I keep going back and forth in my mind about that to this day. Am I a success? Or a failure? And I’ll probably keep going back in forth about that in my mind right up until that moment when I take my last breath and finally die.
But this photo that somebody posted on the internet — of some model wearing one of my Twisted Image t-shirts (available in small, medium, large, and extra large) — reminded me of something. It was around 1990. And I had spent the previous ten years struggling to become a successful (there’s that word again) cartoonist. With mixed results. I was getting published in various places and making some bucks. But I was hardly a Jim Davis making millions off of Garfield lunchboxes and fashion accessories.
But then someone told me they saw a bunch of my Twisted Image t-shirts for sale at trendy boutique in this mall in Paramus, New Jersey. The same mall where I had worked as a stockboy in the Ladies Show department way back when I was 19.
And for a fleeting moment I felt like a success.