theatre bizarre 2008

Theatre_Bizarre_08_FrontI met John Dunivant on our first day of college, in our very first class, approximately six thousand years ago. Since then he’s gone on to become one of the most prominent artists in Detroit, winning a Kresge Arts fellowship and a $100K Knight Foundation grant for his creation, Theatre Bizarre.

Theatre Bizarre is impossible to describe. I know that because I’ve been trying to do so for years. It’s better if you just visit the website or google it (or go to the show). It is a singular experience to which¬†thousands of people dedicate months of their lives for very little gain (or none at all). Perhaps the best way to explain the depth of¬†Theatre Bizarre’s impact is to say that there are hundreds of people all over the world with Zombo (the show’s undead clown mascot/leader) tattooed somewhere on their person. To suggest that Theatre Bizarre is verging on cult status is understatement.

I’ve been working with Johnny and Theatre Bizarre in a variety of capacities over the years, but one of the greatest honors has been my involvement in the creation of the show’s much-anticipated and beloved fliers. The concept and illustrations are always John’s work, but I offer design and copy help where needed. This flier for the 2008 show marks perhaps my deepest involvement.


Johnny and I worked together on the front, developing a spin on Famous Monsters magazine to complement his fun/haunting painting of Zombo, but the back was all me. To this day, I assume that no one has read the whole thing, but if you’d like to click on the image to get the larger version, you’ll find that the vintage comic book ad images are accompanied by some very specific Theatre Bizarre gags. I even snuck in a nonpartisan pro-voting message because it was 2008 and we all still believed in change and stuff.