Making a Deal with the Matty Moroun Devil…

Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News
October 14, 2012

I may have mentioned this before, but when I was 10 years-old, I got to meet Vincent Price. My folks took us to see a production of “Damn Yankees” at the Start Theater in Flint. (Damn Yankees is a musical about a regular guy, Joe, and a fan of the Washington Senators, a baseball team that always loses to the New York Yankees. He makes a deal with the devil to become the Senators’ star player and lead his team to beat the Yankees. Price, of course, played the part of the devil.)

After the show, we waited in a line for autographs. When we got to Price, I made some mention of his devils tail, something like, “How is your tail?” (A running gag in the show was the devil trying to conceal his tail and it getting injured.) What I said was not memorable and certainly not witty, but Price did give me a professional chuckle and made eye contact with me. I remember thinking two things: “This is incredibly wonderful — I made Vincent Price chuckle” and “That man is impossibly old.”

I was thinking about the tail in particular when I was drawing Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun in the second panel. If you have been unfortunate enough to experience a “Vote Yes for Prop 5/Prop 6” ad (and if you lived in Michigan the past few months, you definitely have), you know the deals Moroun is spending millions to make with you. It’s sickening really to the point of comical (and then back to sickening again). I wanted to add something to let readers know that I think Moroun is playing the role of Mephistopheles here — trying to trick voters into very bad decisions. But I wanted to be subtle, and the tail seemed like a good solution. So take heed Michigan voters! Or in the coming weeks I may have to add the horns, pitchfork, and cape.

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