The image above is from the first RENNIN comic I published back in 1997. Tom Rennin, in his distinctive Brooklynese, refers to the date as "April Fort," meaning, April fourth. The title of the story was "Spring Cleaning." In the rest of the story, chaos and hilarity ensues.

The date was not picked arbitrarily.

I started drawing these characters back in 1969. Tom and his wife were based on the next door neighbors of my best friend, Patrick Brett. There's a long story of how the cartoon representation of this guy evolved into this pointy, bird like character, and I'm not going to go into it now. But once that image stuck, that really kind of kicked things off and I've been drawing him off and on for the past 40 years.

40 years ago today, my friend Patrick was assigned some spring cleaning by his parents and I helped. Why do I remember this? Because Patrick had a piece of chalk and drew a cartoon on the wall that showed the heads of Tom and his wife and type below that said "Spring Cleaning with Tom and Fran. April 4, 1969." (Fran being the name of the real person whose cartoon persona evolved into "Flo.") I seem to have this steel trap memory for the minutiae of my childhood, and this was one of those trivial details that just got stuck. Actually, Patrick and I joked about it for years afterwards, so the repetition probably helped to embed it in my brain.

So, on this most obscure of anniversaries, I offer the above tribute that I made 28 years after the fact, 12 years ago.


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