TNB Night Owl – Marrying Judith

Carson the Muskrat cards by John Kovalic, photo by AlienMotives

Some people are more romantic than others. I popped the question at… well, we’ll leave that for my wife to tell, if she so wishes. Suffice to say that I didn’t go out on a limb like John Kovalic did.

Kovalic is best known today as an artist for games. From Apples to Apples to Munchkin, Illuminati : New World Order to Kobolds Ate My Baby, he’s been the artist for both massively successful games and cult hits for two decades. He’s also a webcomic and comic book artist as well as publisher. Before that, he wrote and drew a daily comic strip called Wild Life.

Wild Life began as a college strip and was picked up for national syndication in the 1980s. It featured a cast of funny-animals dealing with their lives in college and immediately afterward. It was a case of “write what you know” mixed with an effort by publishers to pick up on the next hot thing after Garfield and Bloom County.

Wild Life lasted for about a decade before Kovalic segued off into his long-running strip about gamers, Dork Tower. Through nearly every creative endeavor, one constant has remained: Carson the Muskrat. One of the central figures of Wild Life, the giant fuzzy creature continues to interact with the humans of Kovalic’s world as if it were one of them. An astute reader might suspect that Carson is meant to be an analogue of John.

The astute reader would at least sometimes be correct. This was proven when, in a somewhat bold move, Kovalic snuck a strip past an editor or two on February 27, 1994. It was a daily strip due to run just in the one Wisconsin paper, but that still meant tens of thousands of people would see it. I’ll retype it from Kovalic’s website:

First Panel – Carson the Muskrat (looking at a poem): “My love for you is ever true/ and greater far than any sea./ You are my joy, my light my life…”

Second Panel – Carson (still reading): “Judith, will you marry me?”

Third Panel – (Silence. Carson looks around, blankly.)

Fourth Panel – Carson: “What’s the punchline?” Snyder the Badger (leaning into the frame): “Him trying to buy a ring on a Wisconsin State Journal salary.”

She said yes. Not publicly.

Question of the night: (Assuming you’ve been married) What was your proposal like?

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.