Everett True was a fat, grim-faced, derby-hatted gentleman of the old school, a gentleman who didn't take any guff from anyone. Back in 1907, he starred in a short-lived comic strip, "The Outbursts of Everett True." Written by J.W. Raper and drawn in a hilarious, ferocious style by A.D. Condo, it followed the same two-panel formula every week: in the first, Everett is revealed, doing a slow burn at somebody doing something boorish; in the second, he loses his temper, thrashing the malefactor with his umbrella while giving him an etiquette lesson in no uncertain terms. ("You bet it's fine and bracing! Just the kind I like for a little exercise! Why don't you go downtown on the work train if you like the air? The boots for you beetle-brained, BARN BRED PESTS!!!"). Every so often, Everett gets his comeuppance: Mrs. True has the occasional outburst of her own, generally over her husband's butting into household affairs.

"The Outbursts of Everett True" never really caught on in its time, though it's long been a favorite among aficionados of early comic strips (a 1907 collection was privately reprinted in 1983 by the Vestal Press.) Looking at the strips now, it's fascinating to see which common pests have disappeared over the last 90 years, for one reason or another (drivers who tie up their horse without a blanket in freezing weather, people who follow Mr. Roosevelt's reformed spelling) and which spring eternal (price-gouging plumbers, pay-phone chit-chatters who ignore the people waiting in line).

Talk!There is also an infamous British music journalist (the first from that country to write extensively about the Seattle grunge scene), with a body type quite similar to that of the fella with the umbrella, that calls himself Everett True. (Bikini Kill wrote "Hamster Baby" about him: "oh Everett True, where are you?") And yes, he did name himself after Condo and Raper's creation.   </end>

Douglas Wolk's parents miraculously located his Everett True book among his effects in Michigan. He lives in Queens, NY.



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