Callahan was already a seasoned alcoholic when he became paralyzed in his early 20’s following a car wreck. Ironically, that might have saved his life. It certainly started his career as a practicing quadriplegic cartoonist, providing him with experience and perspective quite unlike any others in the field – both fields. Which led to some real friction.
Anybody else making such cruel fun of disabled persons would have been hounded by the professionally sensitive, new age, politically correct vermin infesting the media — Orca Winfreys of the world with their vapid self-help, We-are-One, and I Feelyer Pain crap. Not Callahan. “I’m not ‘Special’ and I’m not ‘Challenged,’” he said once. “I’m a fucking cripple.” His awkwardly drawn cartoons attested to this attitude, alternately pissing off and delighting readers nationwide.
I loved his stuff and bought all the books. His contempt for the conventional was right up my alley, and, from my own personal experience working and playing with disabled people, right on target.
Unique. We’ll never see his likes again. Callahan broke his own back at age 21, but they broke the mold right after his birth.