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Don Ivan Punchatz: 1936-2009…he was 73.

About six years ago, back when we were running “Sketchbook” on “Tastes Like Chicken” and not here on “The Blarg,” Don emailed me and asked to be added to the assignment list. I did just that, not really knowing much about the man other than the fact that he was a fan of the site and lived in Texas.

As it turns out, Don was an extremely accomplished illustrator who studied under legendary cartoonist Burne Hogarth. Punchatz himself had created work for numerous magazines, including “Heavy Metal,” “National Lampoon,” “National Geographic,” “Playboy” and “Time,” among others. Yet here he was, wanting to be a part of a little magazine that I was running out of my bedroom.

Over time, we became friends. A new issue of “TLC” would go live or hit stands, and Don was always there to throw a “congrats” or a “job well done” my way. We communicated mostly through email, but every once in awhile the phone would ring and Don would be on the other end, ready to shoot the shit for an hour or so and catch up on all things “Chicken.”

I never really thought about it much back then because, at the time, Don was just one of many people contributing regularly to the magazine. But looking back on it now, I’m flattered to know that a guy going on 70 years old–a man who had seen and done so much in the art world over the decades–had such an appreciation for something we were making.

So here’s to Don: a supportive friend, a great artist, a fellow creative, and probably the most over-qualified person ever to contribute to “Tastes Like Chicken.”

I’ll leave you guys with a few pieces of Don’s work:

Illustration by Don Punchatz.

Illustration by Don Punchatz.

Illustration by Don Punchatz.

Illustration by Don Punchatz.

It was an honor knowing you, sir,

-Shady

…may be the best (and ballsiest) interviewer ever.

While I’m not sure if these are planned-out shtick or guerrilla-style journalism, I don’t really care one way or the other. I’m inclined to think that Zaller just goes in, puts on a show, and the interviewees either get it and play along, or they don’t and drown in his insanity.

Matt Damon, for example, might not have known what he was getting into when he sat down with Zaller, but he plays along with it wonderfully.

Megan Fox, on the other hand, ends up with a bag on her head. Literally.

No matter what the case may be, these interviews are brilliantly hilarious; National Lampoon should give Zaller a big fat raise.

Remember when I was getting pushed in a stroller,

-Shady

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Old Poop!