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NobleWorks published John Callahan's first line of 36 postcards in 1990 and launched its initial line of Callahan greeting cards soon thereafter. "That was a turning point for NobleWorks," says Ron Kanfi, NobleWorks' president, who discovered Callahan's work shortly after being diagnosed with MS in 1989.
Callahan's personal story inspired his edgy sense of humor: he was adopted as a baby, was educated in Catholic schools, became a quadriplegic at age 21 after a car accident fueled by a day of drinking and bar-hopping, and was a recovering alcoholic by the age of 27. After his accident, Callahan taught himself to draw by using both hands to hold his pen. The result was a rough, heartfelt expression of macabre humor.
Callahan published his first cartoon collection, "Do Not Disturb Any Further," in the early 1980s and went on to become internationally syndicated in newspapers and magazines. His success also led to a string of books; and he created the animated TV shows "Pelswick and Quads." He was a politically incorrect, equal-opportunity offender, targeting the disabled, homeless, fat people, Alzheimer's patients, religion and more - resulting in many complaints on one hand, and many more diehard fans on the other. Sadly, he died in 2010 at the age of 59.
The new film, "Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot" (also the name of Callahan's best-selling 1989 autobiography), shines a bright spotlight on Callahan's life and art. Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara and Jack Black, and directed by Gus Van Sant, the movie was a hit at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.