By Tristan Thackray
Zorro’s Mom is a comic that runs almost weekly in the Eyeopener. Though intended to be humorous and harmless, it has for many reasons come under fire for undoubtedly being neither. In order to set the record straight, here is the entire truth behind the inspiration for the comic, and the many roads it has travelled in establishing itself as possibly the worst comic ever made.
Zorro is a real kid
You see, Zorro (which is actually his real name) went to my middle school. He was a buck-toothed chap who sported a mean 90’s mushroom cut, with a mild habit for getting slaphappy with anyone younger than him. He failed Grade 6, which put him a year behind and thus into my class. He sat behind me. Sometimes, I would kiss Zorro’s ass and we would get along. Other times, when it was deemed that my presence before him was less than complementary, Zorro would kick the back of my chair and tell the ugly girls that I was in love with them.
The Legend of Zorro’s Mom
A small group of classmates was introduced to ZM at a summer party that Zorro had organized to soften his bully image. Everyone was walking by the apartment’s pool when my friend Kevin drew attention to a rather obese woman clad in a bathing suit. “Hey Zorro,” quoth Kevin, his juvenile sense of humour about to erupt, “who’s that fat bitch in the bathing suit? Baaaahahahaha.” Apparently there is something funny about an obese woman in a bathing suit. Those who were there will attest that their proximity to the pool wasn’t the only reason that made what happened next a watershed moment. The woman spoke in the direction of the assemblage of youth, saying, “Zorro honey, do you have your keys?” Mouths fell agape as Zorro sheepishly shrugged, “Umm, yeah, that’s my mom.” Well, what can I say? Zorro picked on me, and now my childish instinct saw a chink in the armour. Hindsight may be 20/20 but nobody needs perfect vision to spot pure gold. What else could I do but immortalize this previously described poolside scene in a stick figure comic, which was promptly circulated around the classroom. There was indeed much merrymaking.
Zorro’s Mom gets a face lift
Well that should have been it for Zorro’s Mom. I graduated from middle-school and Zorro and I went our separate ways: he to one high-school and I to another. I would never have thought of the boy named Zorro and his mother again, but then I met Orest, the man who went on to become the illustrator of the comics you have come to know and hate. Orest was in my English class, and I could see that he was quite an accomplished artist from the drawings he did to avoid paying attention in class. I could tell the kid had talent, and that if I played my cards right, I could somehow profit off his god-given abilities. All I needed was an “in,” so I asked him if he would redraw the poolside episode of Zorro and his Mom that I had put into comic form. Seeing as Orest was impressionable and recently soured by his experience in a Catholic middle-school, he immediately agreed to draw my crude comic and promptly produced an amazing interpretation of the said events. He told me that he really liked the aura of the characters, so we went on to scheme up some more storylines that took Zorro and his Mom to realms of complete juvenile imagination. The characters rapidly lost any semblance of the people who inspired them. Zorro’s character became timid and unlucky while his mother ballooned to astronomical proportions, and had relations with less than savoury individuals.
An abuse of editorship, or how I got ZM on the Fun Page.
Zorro’s Mom comics took another break in production after a grape juice box exploded in my backpack, ruining all of our original copies. We inevitably decided that this was the final nail in ZM’s ginormous coffin, so we put the project on ice with the intention of moving on to bigger and better things. We both knew that neither was an entirely realistic possibility, and the issue was confirmed when we both ended up at Ryerson, with Orest being one year ahead of myself. He had landed himself a job at the Eyeopener as the Fun Page Editor, and upon my arrival brought up the issue of trying to get Zorro’s Mom comics back up and running in the Fun section. This was promptly nullified by the fact that the current Fun Page Editor found the comic tasteless and sexist. Obviously, there was only one real option for us to get our comic in the paper, and that was for me to run in the election to become Fun Page Editor. And so, after an election speech in which I pulled the newspaper out of my pants, ranted onstage while holding a broom, and recounted the most embarrassing drunken moment of my life, I was elected to the office of Fun Page Editor. The first order of business I undertook was to enshrine Zorro’s Mom as the staple comic of the Fun Page, and so it has been for the majority of my reign of terror.
“Don’t hate me because I’m fat”
One stormy evening the phone rang, disturbing Orest’s enjoyment of an old episode of Star Trek TNG (“Unification, Part II”). “Orest,” I cried into the phone, “they hate Zorro’s Mom. All of them. The editors. They are saying it’s by far the least funny comic that has ever run in the Fun Section.” Orest was nonplussed. “They don’t think it’s funny? Why would a comic run in the Fun section if it wasn’t funny?” Apparently, that was what the editors have been asking themselves too. Lost to me and my accomplice was the revelation that the comic was being taken as a full-on affront towards obese women. As a result, the jokes, which were deemed obscure and indecipherable, were being lost amid the excess of Zorro’s Mom’s flesh. It was so simple to me. I just want to tell the story of a large woman and her downtrodden boy. I couldn’t understand it. Television shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy have shit gold with their jokes on the trials and tribulations of obese men, yet to make those very same jokes about an obese woman is considered deplorable? “Orest,” I cried, “What are we going to do?” But by then it had become apparent that Orest had hung up the phone and resumed “Unification, Part II.”
I stand behind Zorro’s Mom comics. Perhaps you will believe me when I say that it is not solely concerned with making fun of a fictitious, obese woman, but then again maybe you won’t. All I can say beyond the fact that I mean no harm to anyone, is that for those of you who hate the comic and wish nothing but ill will upon our incouragable heads, I assure you that one day down the road, the real Zorro will find out about this, and he’ll probably do something much worse than kick the back of my chair. Do I deserve it? Probably.
I am Orest. I draw Zorro’s Mom.
The way it usually goes is this: Tristan calls me up at 6 p.m. on a Sunday. By this time I have already returned from church (sometimes the street, sometimes the prayer-aiding institution), then we think up an uproarious pun for this week’s Jumble (E.g. “Q: Why did the bee get pulled over by the police bee? A: Because he was BUZZED.” LOL. Sorry to spoil it if you still hadn’t figured out last week’s). Then I spend five minutes drawing a Zorro’s Mom and we’re done.
I hope I never run into Tristan after his career as Fun Editor is over. Unless of course, I’m in a car.