The world is a pile of grunge – Jo Stafford

It was the mid-nineties. Kurt Cobain was a couple years dead. Grunge was still staggering along, Hip hop went mainstream. Punk was back …sort of.

While not a golden age, it was a time before the 24 hour news cycle brought us under constant assault from the Britney Spears type pop machine, and before we were drubbed mercilessly by the omnipresent Spice Girls and their ilk. (It can be hard to get away from the ilk).

There was also a regrettable dalliance in those lost years of the mid 90’s with a horrible thing called the Macarena, but let’s just chalk that up to Mass Psychogenic Illness, Collective Obsessional Behavior or paint huffing and move on…

Tucson, where I lived at the time, had an interesting music scene and some great musicians playing out. Much of the music had a punk edge. I had been in bands and played in clubs and coffee shops for years, but I was playing mostly solo acoustic and slide guitar music.

I put together a three piece band with a couple of friends, and we were almost ready to start playing out – lots of practices, big set list, new gear.

The bass player showed up for practice one day and said he was quitting to form a Punk Rockabilly band, and while we were talking, the drummer called to say he was quitting and moving to Spain.

The first of this series ran about a week later.

With me a change of trouble is as good as a vacation – David Lloyd George

“The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind” – Humphrey Bogart


stag panel01

Panel from a Staggering Heights cartoon, 2003

Staggering Heights is a comic strip by Joe Forkan that was published in weekly newspapers nationwide from 1995 – 2003.

This website will eventually be an archive of the more than 400 Staggering Heights comic strips and comic book, a blog for new material – cartoons, sketches, illustration work, with the occasional rambling observation related to comics, cartooning and illustration.

Joe Forkan is currently an Associate Professor of Art at California State University Fullerton, teaching classes in the Drawing and Painting, Illustration, and Animation areas.

Comments are welcome and encouraged.