End Strips: The Clerihews


This week I posted my 70th End Strip on Patreon. End Strips are short comics drawn in a vertical format on random strips of paper, usually ones trimmed from larger sheets by my daughter Rebecca for some school project or another. These have tended to fall into a few main groups: drawings of celebrities from my various clippings folders, short strips featuring my characters Sandy & Mandy, drawings of Facebook friends who share the same first name, rhyming song lyrics that happen to have an anapest meter, and clerihews- short comic poems about famous people with my caricature illustrations.

David Chelsea is watching: Black Mirror – Series 1-2 and Special

Eric Clerihew Bentley
Eric Clerihew Bentley

From Wikipedia: A clerihew (pronunciation: /ˈklɛrᵻhjuː/) is a whimsical, four-line biographical poem invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley, author of Trent’s Last Case. The first line is the name of the poem’s subject, usually a famous person put in an absurd light, or revealing something unknown and/or spurious about them. The rhyme scheme is AABB, and the rhymes are often forced. The line length and metre are irregular. Bentley invented the clerihew in school and then popularized it in books. One of his best known is this (1905):

Sir Christopher Wren
Said, “I am going to dine with some men.
If anyone calls
Say I am designing St. Paul’s.”

Most of the clerihews I have written are about showbiz celebrities, such as this one reflecting Carrie Fisher’s recent memoir about her affair with Harrison Ford:


You can’t write clerihews about just anyone. The subject has to have a name that rhymes with something, to start with. It took me a while before I came up with one for the actor Paul Giamatti:


It also helps if the celebrity has a face that’s fun to draw, like Steve Buscemi:


It’s not all about showbiz, though. From time to time I have also seen fit to include figures from politics:


A couple of clerihew strips have dealt with my fellow cartoonists. Just because R. Crumb is a personal hero of mine doesn’t mean that I couldn’t find something to kid him about:


Here are links to all the Clerihew End Strips that I have posted so far:

Showbiz: Dermot Mulroney, Ornella Muti, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore
Cartoonists: Ted Rall,Jim Shooter, Walt Kelly
Cartoonists: David Mazzucchelli, Julie Doucet, Will Elder
Showbiz: Emma Stone, Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Dylan McDermott
Cartoonists: Jack Kirby, Dan Clowes, Winsor McCay, R. Crumb, Gary Groth
Famous People: Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Aaron Paul, Melania Trump, Meryl Streep
Showbiz: Paul Giamatti, Patricia Arquette, Marisa Tomei

Meanwhile, I have been steadily posting new installments of my continuing webcomic ARE YOU BEING WATCHED? on Patreon. We are now deep into Mugg’s final Reality TV show, in which he is competing with eight other artists to draw a 24 hour comic. Among the other contestants is Sandy, co-protagonist of my Dark Horse Presents comic SANDY & MANDY. Sandy provides an occasion for two sequences which pass The Bechdel Test:


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