Meet the Cartoonist: Rex May
“I’d feel a lot better about this if you had a co-signer.”
“Cartoonists don’t so much create humor as they detect it,” says cartoonist Rex May, who draws under the name “Baloo.” “There’s something funny about nearly everything, and it’s the job of the humorist, and specifically the cartoonist, to find it and show it to other people.” It may be tough to find humor in a weak economy—but Baloo is obviously up to it!
“He’s mostly adjusted to retirement OK, except that he keeps sending me memos.”
Rex has been selling humorous writing and cartoons since 1973. His first sale was to National Lampoon, and many major magazines have used either his cartoons or his writing since then.
“No, it’s not a review copy!”
“When I first started doing this, I was told to avoid cliché situations, like desert islands and gurus on mountaintops. Wrong. Don’t avoid anything. There’s always a new funny twist that nobody has done before. One of my favorite scenes is Moses… coming down the mountain with the Commandments. I’m sure I’ve drawn Moses more than Michelangelo ever did. Of course, I do draw faster than he did.” Okay, I don’t know much about art, but Rex’s Moses is way cuter in my opinion.
“Spit that out, Billy!—You don’t know where it’s been!”
Yuk! I don’t know where you found that nasty human—but get rid of it! This doesn’t exactly go back to dinosaur times, but I did find it in a 1984 issue of the Post. The cover story was about Bob Hope. Okay, to some of you that would be the Stone Age.
“The good news is that you’re going to put this little small-town hospital on the map!”
See? There’s always a silver lining. I thought Rex copped the name “Baloo” from the Jungle Book character. Wrong. It actually started when he was in the Army (“back in the LBJ/Nixon years”) and was put into an Urdu language class. “Everybody in the class got nicknames in Urdu. I got nicknamed ‘Baloo’ because I drew bears on the blackboard once, and ‘baloo’ is, of course, Urdu for ‘bear.” Of course. I knew that.
“Let’s just say we’ll do our best to cure you—never mind what the odds are.”
Does anyone else get the feeling this guy has a long way to go? During his nearly four decades of cartooning, Rex May and his wife brought up three kids; so, for the sake of security and retirement, he spent twenty-odd years working for the US Postal Service. “Plenty of humor material there,” he says. Ooo, I can see it now: A cartoon with Moses coming down the mountain with a stone tablet saying, “He had to do it this way because of so many post office closings.” Okay, okay, I’ll leave it to the professionals.
“I try to save for a rainy day, but I’m married to a gullywasher.”
I swear this guy is not my husband. Enviously, Rex lives “in sight of the Rocky Mountains” with his wife, Jean and their two Lhasa-poos, Molly and Rufus. He is drawing more cartoons than ever and his cute little characters appear regularly in National Review, Woman’s World, Readers Digest, and, of course, The Saturday Evening Post.