Along with two of the classic columns republished this week, I noticed that they had illustrations that were not with the original column, nor do they seem to be drawn by Signorino. They’re unsigned and most definitely not his style.[sup]1[/sup]
I’m not quite sure what you mean when you say these were “not with the original column.” You don’t mean the original column in the newspaper, do you?
If memory serves, some columns were originally posted on the Web without art, usually because we couldn’t find it. But every once in a while Cecil uncovers part of the Slugarian oeuvre in his notoriously squalid office, under a pizza box or stuck to an old pair of underwear. When this happens we have the piece tested, disinfected, and eventually added to the archive.
Both these illustrations are definitely Signorinos. His works are almost always marked with his initials. In the squirrel picture, what look (at low Web resolution) like two dots in the lower corners are actually Ss. Over time Slug stylized his Ss into elongated squiggles, almost horizontal lines. In the pigeon column they appear to the left of the little motion marks near each foot.
It bears repeating – the tale is briefly told in the foreword of The Straight Dope, but, shockingly, there are some on this board who don’t own a copy – that Mike Lenehan was Cecil Adam’s first editor. According to the book’s account, Lenehan was left somewhat worse for the wear from the experience, but appears to have recovered sufficiently to now hold a position of responsibility within the Chicago Reader media empire. (Ed Zotti, Cecil’s third and current editor, began serving in 1978).
Unfortunately, a full account of the formation of the original Adams-Lenehan axis does not appear to have ever been reported. Did Mr. Lenehan discover Cecil, and lure him into writing for the Reader, or perhaps Cecil showed up one day in the Reader lobby, and Lenehan was drafted because he happened to be standing around not looking particularly busy. In any event, I hope Mr. Lenehan will someday contribute a “How I met Cecil” entry for the FAQ, in time for the gala thirtieth anniversary celebration next February. (After all, he’s not getting any younger, you know).
This also brings up Cecil’s murky past. George Orwell wrote a famous essay, “Why I Write”, and it would be nice if Unca Cece, as an equally important figure, could favor the Teeming Millions with something similar. It would also be very helpful if this essay were to be translated into all the major languages of the world, including Klingon.