Cartoonist and Idyllwild character John Marshall eschewed what was politically or socially correct. His book, “Nobody Loves a Fly,” featured a label on the front cover: “Warning: Contains Filth!” Some of his iconic cartoons, including many from “Nobody Loves a Fly,” are featured in a current exhibit at the Idyllwild Area Historical Society Museum.
Marshall, who died in July 2007, was the featured cartoonist at the Town Crier from 1996 until early 2007. His strip, “For the Hill of It,” was devilishly provocative, wickedly funny and absolutely devoid of political correctness. Marshall contributed cartoons to such disparate publications as Penthouse Magazine and the Los Angeles Times Book Review section.
“I never had an art lesson,” said Marshall in a 1996 interview. “I used to get into arguments with teachers all the time about the things I’d draw. I kind of rebelled against them.”
Marshall’s drawings and sense of humor were quirky. In his book “Chickensh**,” detectives are seen roughing up a distressed chicken, with the caption reading, “Talk! Why does a chicken cross the road?” Sometimes, well yes, even often, Marshall’s work featured characters and situations that were both risqué and ribald.
Marshall also felt passionately about certain issues. He was a peace activist in the late 1960s. He created a one-minute short, “Peace,” that protested the protracted Vietnam War. Set against a background of an American flag while a boy whistles “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” a baby grows to manhood until gunfire abruptly ends his life, and while blood begins to pool, these words are said, “Eager to be a man, he looks ahead, then war comes and he is dead. Stop it!” The short caught the attention of comedian and anti-war activist Pat Paulsen who wanted to feature it in his tours of college campuses. Paulsen wanted to change the last words from “Stop it!” to “Why?” Marshall refused.
The exhibit is up indefinitely.