Erma and Morris Shotbag

Erma & Morris

©2014 William Van Horn

The following is an excerpt from William Van Horn’s book “The Woes Garden.”

If there was one thing in life that was sacred to Erma Shotbag, it was keeping a promise. Even a promise to her husband, Morris.

“Morris,” she said to him one autumn day in 1927, “if you don’t stop sucking on that damned pipe, I promise I shall never speak to you again!”

Now Morris Shotbag was not a man earmarked by fate to achieve much in life and he knew it. Yes, when Fate did nod his way on that day so long ago he was ready.

Recently, on the occasion of his 80th wedding anniversary, Morris acknowledged that the only thing he still found difficult to do with a pipe in his mouth was eat spaghetti.

“Aside from that,” he chuckled, “I’ve managed just fine.”

Erma Shotbag had no comment.

Used with permission. The Woes Garden art and text ©2014 William Van Horn

Digging into William Van Horn’s “The Woes Garden”

The Cover of William Van Horn's "The Woes Garden"

My friend William Van Horn is a certified genius. (Or maybe a certified mechanic. I forget.) In any event, his writing and art are brilliant.

We’ve worked together many times on Disney comics. But Bill’s Disney work only channels a very narrow portion of his talent. Starting today, I’ll be occasionally showcasing samples from some of Bill’s unpublished work. Hopefully, it won’t be unpublished for long!

Woes Garden FlowerFirst up, a sample from Bill’s book “The Woes Garden.”  —John Lustig



The fictional spoofs in this book were inspired by a series of news fillers I encountered in one of our local papers in San Francisco, back in the Nineteen Sixties. They were usually no more than a column inch or two describing often-tragic events that nonetheless bordered on back comedy. Events that were downright surreal!

So just for fun, imagine that the following events described really happened. After all, who knows? In a world as screwy as ours they well could have.

—-William Van Horn

Read sample from The Woes Garden here.

 Used with permission. The Woes Garden art and text ©2014 William Van Horn