#16 “The Right Stuff”

From A.P. in North Carolina

I have received plenty of pictures which have ultimately offered more questions than answers, and the illustration that is on display today is a prime example of this.

You see, many pieces in my collection feature pop culture references, not a few which include allusions to Back to the Future, Pulp Fiction, hipsters, professional wrestling, Bojangles, Ozzy Osbourne, Wolf Blitzer, and the list goes on. When I first examined this drawing, I assumed that I was looking at a pop culture reference that I am not familiar with. As a result, I attempted to engage in a little research, but I got no further than a 1979 book titled The Right Stuff by a man named Tom Wolfe. Somehow, though, I don’t think this is a viable option as a clue. Maybe this is because The Right Stuff (according to Wikipedia) is “about the pilots engaged in U.S. postwar experiments with experimental rocket-powered, high-speed aircraft as well as documenting the stories of the first Project Mercury astronauts selected for the NASA space program.”

Now, I didn’t read the book or watch the movie based on the story which was released in 1983, but I doubt that it contains any actual wolves or men who bare a striking resemblance to Orville Redenbacher.

I next considered that this drawing might somehow be a reference to the famous boy band “New Kids on the Block” from the late 1980s and early 1990s. But somehow this didn’t seem to fit either. I have  nonetheless included the video below just in case.

In the end, I do feel the need to agree with the character in the illustration in terms of the wolf having “the right stuff,” if this is a reference to the bravery and fortitude that Wolfe alludes to in the title of his book; but as I said earlier, I am very skeptical of this, and no matter what, there are still questions about this drawing that need answering:

1. What actually is this “right stuff” that is referred to here and how does the man know that the wolf possesses it?

2. If the wolf has “the right stuff,” why does he look so distraught?

3. What is the relationship like between this man and this beast that allows the elderly gentleman to comment so freely and precisely about this animal (and in such close proximity) without suffering bodily harm?

4. (Perhaps most importantly) Why does this artist refuse to draw lower bodies?


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