Tuesday, January 29, 2008


In 1971, Mr. Yuk was created by the Pittsburgh Poison Center at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Since then, Mr. Yuk has been used to educate children and adults about poison prevention and to promote poison center awareness. In addition, Mr. Yuk has raised awareness that poison centers are available 24 hours-a-day, every day of the year to assist in the management of poisoning emergencies.

I grew up with Mr. Yuk's green face of warning, and it left a huge impression on me. I've always gotten a kick out of this little logo and his image continues to inspire me in strange ways.

Any American kid in the 1970's probably knew this guy, especially due to this unforgettably creepy commercial:

My fascination with Mr. Yuk continued into the early 90's, as with this 'Toxic Life' tattoo I got circa '94:

Then, in 2000, I created a Mr. Yuk stencil and used it on this cheap, round metal table I found at a thrift store:

And I couldn't leave Target a few years later without this awesome T-shirt:

Then when I started working in vector graphics, I found myself again inspired by the little green guy. My very first upload to my deviantART gallery was one of the first Illustrator drawings I ever made, combining Mr. Yuk with a smiley face in a union of opposites:

Then, I came up with the idea to combine Mr. Yuk with another childhood idol of the seventies, Gene Simmons of KISS:
KISSter Yuk

And most recently, I combined Mr. Yuk with another icon to make this mutation of the deviantART mascot:

For more about the stickers and other Mr. Yuk merchandise,
visit the offical website,

Rare photo of the back of "Bob"'s head!

Taken by Man Ray, this photo is often mistaken as a picture of Marcel Duchamp.
Of course, this is incorrect. It is obviously a picture of J.R. "Bob" Dobbs.
The Tonsure of the title was not shaved into the hair, but was burned there as a by-product of his Divine Emaculation.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Pan-ifesto: Early Inspirations, Pt. 1

My first exposure to the idea of advertising parody came from two main sources: Mad Magazine and Topps Wacky Packages stickers, both of which fascinated me as a child in the 1970's...

Mad Magazine was a huge influence my young mind, my sense of humor and my cynical outlook on American culture. Its probably safe to say that without the influence of Mad, I would not be a SubGenius today...
There are a lot of similarities between Mad and the SubGenius viewpoint. The graphic intensity and eye-popping visuals of SubG literature seems to be a direct descendant of Mad's aesthetic. Also, there is the love of silly wordplay, puns and invented lingo, the many shibboleths and inside jokes that make both the Mad reader and the SubGenius feel a shared understanding of a world beneath the surface. Definitely, there is a subversive, smartass attitude that is inseparable from both.
And then there is J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, who is like Alfred E. Neuman in many ways. Both characters started life out as clip art, cheap public domain graphics with enigmatic origins; both were consequently adopted as the official mascot, trademark, and embodiment of their respective organizations...

The images of "Bob" and Alfred are, for the most part just faces. True, they are often pictured with full bodies, but that tends to be just a means to some visual gag. The power of both characters resides in their own peculiar, grinning visages.
And of course, the magic of both "Bob" and Alfred is their ability to shapeshift, to take on a multitude of identities while retaining their own characteristics. As a Mad reader, I was always amazed at the endless variations on a theme that the "Usual Gang of Idiots" could come up with in the depiction of Alfred. When I first encountered Revelation X, my introduction to the Church, I was struck by the similar way the Dobbshead was treated. It seems there are limitless ways to express the image of "Bob" that are different yet recognizable. This has been a great source of inspriation to me, as I try to work the Dobbshead into my images in new and interesting ways.