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Critically-Acclaimed Cartoonist Rick London Combines Marilyn Monroe/Charles Manson To Prove Warhol’s Theory

August 12, 2007
Have you had your 15 minutes of fame that Andy Warhol promised us all. And if you did, how was it? I had several hours of it back in the late 1980’s when I created a bus tour in Washington, D.C which had “theater”, music and actors in it called Scandal Tours.It was fun, for awhile, but believe it or not became tiresome; media interviews daily etc., and frankly, I didn’t enjoy the business after a few months.

Had another brush with fame when I wasn’t even trying creating a cartoon on the Internet called Londons Times Cartoons. I had no idea I was becoming “famous” until I looked at the counter and saw million visitors on the counter since 2005. So I can honestly say, it didn’t change my life. I didn’t go out and buy a Ferrari or a big house on the ocean. I guess I could though. Too tired now and frankly enjoy the quietness and serenity of the quiet mountains of Arkansas and all it offers to keep one creative. The cost of living is low and much more energy can be spent being creative than “playing the fame game” and spending money on “survival”.

I used to live in New York City during the Andy Warhol days. I was spending my days in a public relations internship and nights trying to be a stand up comic. (I was no Jay Leno, believe me), but I could write funny lines. So I kept writing funny lines, putting them away in a shoe box, for future use. I had no idea what that future use would be, but I just knew they were funny from the feedback I received from friends and associates.

I was not impressed in Andy Warhol’s philosophy, though I do believe he gave a precise description of America’s fascination with fame. He pursued it heavily. When he wasn’t writing or drawing, he was out socializing with some of America’s top Hollywood associates. He had an agenda; to be famous. It worked. People don’t get famous drawing Campbell’s soup cans or Marilyn Monroe (though many have drawn them), he made it a political movement to become famous.

About a year ago, I had an idea. I decided to take one of America’s favorite celebrities in history, Marilyn Monroe, and one of America’s most notorious, Charles Manson and find a way to combine them in a cartoon. I knew I was not good at caricatures so I contracted with Spain’s top caricature artist “Gogue” and he rendered my idea. I named it “Marilyn Manson”.

I showed it to a good many people and got (expected frowns); even some people said I was sick. Some loved it and the products have sold very well. Tees, mousepads, totes, etc.

What they didn’t realize was that the cartoon had absolutely nothing to do with Charles Manson, Marilyn Monroe, or Marilyn Manson; it had to do with American’s fascination with celebrity and fame. It was a reflection of our dreams, hopes, desires, and ambitions.

It showed the positive side and negative side of fame and celebrity. It showed the power of celebrity and how easy it is to get, though it seems so elusive to so many. But celebrity per se is not important at all (Charles Manson proved that; he’s been behind bars for a half century. Unfortunately, Marilyn, who contributed much, and really was just beginning, died an untimely death.

Finally people (my cartoon fans) began to “get it”. We really do remain way too fascinated with how “the other half lives. The great irony is that, anyone can be a celebrity with a lot more than fifteen minutes of fame if he/she does not let obstacles, naysayers, etc. pull them down.

Believing in oneself and talents is indeed important, but constantly improving them and staying persistent is the key to your 15 minutes or more. I’ve had way more than my share and I can assure you I feel no different, have the same emotions, still sit on the floor and pet my stray dog, like to read Grisham, don’t go to fancy restaurants often; prefer to eat raw veggies at home, and even went back to school as an adult student to major in business.

So it is not the fame or celebrity that is important, it is how seriously you take it. My first time around, when I was in my twenties and thirties, I took it very seriously. I haunted every comedy nightclub every night in New York City. I sent out resumes. I tried to get on Letterman and Carson (who was host then). It remained elusive.

Now I sit back and do my “funny work” on the Internet. I don’t even try for fame or celebrity. I am not even sure what it is anymore. I have it, they say, but really, it doesn’t make a big difference than the starving artist  syndrome. I get to “hang” with some more educated and socially aware people and do business with them and I could clearly say that is a perk.  But fame or celebrity  ertainly it doesn’t mean “leadership”. It often means the opposite.

If you get a chance, take a look at my Marilyn Manson cartoon or merchandise and let me know if you see something in it that angers you. If it does, you probably “get it”. You know we were, somewhere along the line, misled about the importance of fame, fortune and all that goes with it.

Believe me, the cartoon is not about either of those two people. It is about our response to two famous entities, icons if you will, who led very opposite lives, Norma Jean (Marilyn) at least tried to make a positive contribution, Manson did his best (and succeeded) at doing the opposite.

One bit of trivia. Remember the Monkees from the 1960’s? Two famous people tried out for the Monkees and didn’t make it. Ready? Stephen Stills and…you guessed it. Charles Manson. Again, proof everyone feels entitled to their 15 minutes.

Sit back, relax, do your work, market, blog, write, study, and every day you’ll be adding much more than the 15 minutes Mr. Warhol promised.

Rick London is a writer, cartoonist, e-entrepreneur, inventor and full time student living in the Ouchata Mountains of Arkansas. He founded the largest offbeat cartoon site on the Internet Londons Times Cartoons, and several stores which feature his cartoon items. One of the stores is Rick Londonwear, where one can find the Marilyn Manson products mentioned in this article at The main store site is

Marilyn Manson Monroe