Or so he claimed in a Facebook post. Millionaire has been known to pull a prank or two (and has used this opportunity to plug his book quite a bit.) but…this time it feels pretty real.
Maakies is the long running comic strip about the often soused adventures of Drinky Crow and Uncle Gabby, an equally inebriated sock money, with the occasional assistance of pirate captain Maak and others. It was turned into a short-lived Adult Swim cartoon back in the Aughts (oh god so long ago) after appearing an animated bumper on Saturday NIght Live in the 90s (Jesus even longer.) A relationship with They Might be Giants, has also been noted.
And in case that goes away:
MAAKIES IS DEAD
Since that cruel icy winter in February, 1994, Drinky Crow and MAAKIES have been my constant companions and lifesavers. With a broken heart I sat in that bar in Brooklyn and drew comics for beers. The black coal of my heart cracked open and a bird popped out, a drunken bird, a crow, Drinky Crow. It grew, I grew, people read my little strip and they grew.
Now we’re all grown up, the weekly newspapers across the world which carried the strip have almost all disappeared or dropped their comics sections for one reason or another, and here I sit, at the edge of a granite boulder, jutting out into Gloucester harbor, watching the good ship Maak sink.
This strip has been my diary, all my odd thoughts and the funny things my friends have said were jotted down in a hundred pocket notebooks and ended up in the strip, in the newspaper. I was a hard-boiled newspaperman, I was proud! The world has changed, the only comic strips that can sustain themselves anymore are those who have ambitious young strong-arms with the self-discipline to set themselves up on dedicated home-made sites or those that can land a spot on a big website or two, which could support it financially.
Thanks to everyone who told me a good joke, to all those who told me terrible jokes which I threw in the garbage, and especially to Helena Harvilcz, without whom MAAKIES would have been something else entirely.
I remember Capt. Ed Grey, standing in the middle of the street in Brooklyn, his small ship sunk, homeless, his blue eyes gleaming with mania, as he stared over the cold East River, (or “sluice” as he called it,) laughing.
“What are you laughing about, Ed?”
“Oh, just the horror of being alive.”
Millionaire posted a finalish strip has also routed us to a new strip on Adult Swim called “Rickets and Scurvy” that plays like Maakies but with new characters.
It’s ironic that just a few hours after posting about Krazy Kat I’d be writing an elegy for one of its most direct descendants that’s still extant. Maakies revels in pen and ink wash, animals with never to be fulfilled desires, and a setting that makes nature one of the main characters. In this case it’s not the desert but the roar of the sea, thunder clouds gathering and bleached bones on a beach testament to the dangers of drink. It was one of my favorites.. not comic strip, not stories, just favorite…thing. The sophomoric humor sometime got thin, but the mystery in its storm-tossed waves was never solved.
And of course, alt-weekly comic strips are a thing of the past. I don’t mourn them though because we have approximately 205,846 webcomics running now, and you will find something you like somewhere on the web. Nothing like Maakies, though. It’s the last of its kind.
Bonus Christmas section: Maakies ran for 22 years and has been collected in many books, most published by Fantagraphics.
If you’re feeling sad now and looking for perfects gifts, Millionaire is selling gorgeous prints on his website for $175 and is there anyone who would not be pleased by a gift of this kind?
And a final book trailer.
I emailed Millionaire to confirm the end, and he didn’t respond, sometimes a suspicious act. I’ve been burned by him before. If this was a publicity stunt it worked! And all is forgiven.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.