If Asheville ever reaches the point where it can’t laugh at itself, then living here is going to turn into a bad joke. That’s one reason Xpress puts a premium on good local cartoonists.
We had one in Ethan Clark, who recently left Asheville for his former hometown of New Orleans. For the past year or so, his cartoon, Crashville, has graced our pages every other week. The ‘toon never took itself too seriously, but with its cast of scruffy young Ashevilleans and keen eye on the tensions that can make life here interesting, Crashville was a serious reminder of how local matters matter.
The last installment of the cartoon (at least for now) appears on page 90. It doesn’t tell us exactly why Clark’s leaving town, so we asked him. “It’s not the same city I moved to just a few years ago,” he answered. “The development, the price of living and the squashing of art and weirdo culture was just too much.”
It wasn’t all bad, he’s quick to add. “I liked the people, the scrappy artiness of the place that used to permeate everything,” he says—along with his DJ-ing gigs and “the tempeh Reuben at Rosetta’s.” And Clarke seems willing to ignore Thomas Wolfe’s advice that you can’t go home again: He’ll return soon, at least for visits, to promote two forthcoming books. He wrote Leaning With Intent to Fall, a book of punk-lifestyle tales, and co-wrote The Chainbreaker Bike Book, a bike-repair manual/zine collection.
To Ethan: Goodbye, good luck and come back soon. To everyone else: We need a new cartoon. It will appear every other week, in a space 5 inches wide and 3 inches tall. It must look into local life in a way that makes all (or at least some) of us laugh. We will pay for it, but it’s fair to say your best reward will be the satisfaction of tickling the ribs of everyone who picks up Mountain Xpress.
So if you’ve ever drawn or conceived of a local cartoon, now’s your time to shine. Send us your submissions—of at least three samples—via either e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or snail mail (Xpress Cartoon Search, Mountain Xpress, 2 Wall St., Asheville, NC, 28801).
And keep in mind that if you make it funny enough, you might even help us make the case that Asheville could still be Crashville.