Booze, fights, and general piss-ups: David Boswell, creator of Reid Fleming, World's Toughest Milkman, hosts East Side book launch
NOTE: The date for this event has been changed. The date in the copy below has been altered to reflect this change.
Twelve days after Lucky’s Comics presented a popular retrospective of Rand Holmes’s art, the East Side (3972 Main Street) book and comic shop is hosting a launch/signing session for another former 1970s Georgia Straight stalwart.
This time it is David Boswell, the comic writer and artist who travelled to Vancouver from Southern Ontario in 1977 to draw strips for the Straight and ended up creating the deathless and combative Reid Fleming, World’s Toughest Milkman.
The character of Reid Fleming started, as Boswell points out on his website, in a sketchbook in Toronto in June 1977. After Boswell moved to the West Coast later that year to illustrate his Heart Break Comics (featuring Laszlo, Great Slavic Lover) for the Straight, he gave himself a one-week break from comic romance and dashed out his first Reid Fleming strip in the then-decade-old alternative paper.
The truculent title character got his name from Boswell’s real-life kindergarten bully, and Straight readers liked him so much that Boswell carried on.
Fleming was fond of yelling, “I thought I told you to shut up!” and “Wanna make something of it?”, and if you didn’t pay your milk bill quickly enough to suit him, he’d piss in your flowers. (The opening panel for Chapter 2 of Rogue to Riches, featuring Fleming, shows a milquetoast husband cringing behind a window with his wife, in robe and slippers, as they watch the perma-pissed milkman carrying his basket up their front walk. The husband is saying: “That’s him? The one who told you to ”˜Wear a negligee—or else’?”)
Boswell had the strips published in comic form in 1980, and the title became a cult classic and spun off its own cottage industry of sorts. (The artist started up his own company, Deep-Sea Comics, to reprint the titles.)
Boswell, who was inducted into the Canadian Cartoonists Hall of Fame earlier this year, will be at Lucky’s on Thursday (August 18) from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. to launch (and sign) the recently published Reid Fleming, World’s Toughest Milkman (Volume One) [IDW, 224 pp], the first of two hardcover collections of his work.
If you have a minute or two and Boswell doesn’t look like Fleming with a head of steam up, ask him about the Hollywood movie project that has been a quarter-century in the making.
Reid Fleming, World’s Oldest Screenplay?