THE EARLY YEARS
I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, where the rarified air had a decided effect on my outlook. As a kid, I loved comic books and spent hours tracing Archie, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Captain Marvel, and Superman. I was so impressed with Superman that I jumped off our garage roof in an attempt to leap tall buildings in a single bound. That incident resulted in my short stature and squeaky voice.
A constant daydreamer, I was not a particularly good student, which accounted for my four years in the third grade, and even then I was still the shortest kid in the class. Eventually, however, I doodled my way through the public school system—much to the dismay of my teachers—and graduated magna cum average.
THE MIDDLE YEARS
Despite my less than notable performance in the public schools, I went on to the University of Denver, where I filled several notebooks with funny doodles. At least I thought they were funny; my professors weren’t particularly happy with them, since I was supposed to be taking class notes. Nevertheless, I managed to attain a degree in biology and education. Even more surprising to friends and family, I later earned a Masters Degree from the University of Oklahoma.
My doodles evolved into cartoons when I became a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. I used them to vent my frustration with the “Army way” and to express my uniquely oblique view of the world. Unable to decide what I really wanted to do when I grew up, I remained in the Army for twenty-two years as I honed my drawing skills.
My first published work, a panel called “Lieutenant Frisby,” appeared weekly in the Mountaineer newspaper, a civilian publication at Fort Carson, Colorado. Along with my day job as an Infantry platoon leader, I became the staff cartoonist for the paper until I was reassigned a year later. The feeling of publication was so exhilarating, I decided I definitely wanted to be a cartoonist when I achieved adulthood. After Fort Carson, I drew humorous illustrations in various military organizations, generally upsetting the establishment wherever I was stationed.
THE LATER YEARS
As a reward for my entertaining art, I was allowed to spend two tours in Vietnam, where I penned sarcastic gags about the war, the Army, and the Johnson administration—good for morale I thought. Unfortunately, some thought otherwise. I remember in particular one supervisor’s fatherly comment, “You enjoy being in trouble all the time, don’t you Cohen?” Despite my acerbic wit and after making fun of the military for over 20 years, I continued to be promoted and was eventually allowed to retire honorably. Who says the Army doesn’t have a sense of humor? I still recall one commander’s sage advice, “Get the hell out of my office and don’t ever let me see you in this organization again!” A lovely man—he read my cartoon.
After my retirement, I joined a Defense Department intelligence organization that shall remain nameless. There I worked in assignments so highly classified even I had no idea what I was doing. Complicating matters, no one was allowed to tell me. The opportunity for much satire was thus created, which produced some funny cartoons—well, I liked them. In any case, after my psychiatric evaluations, I was encouraged to try cartooning as a lifework. Oh, I left under friendly conditions, but only on the promise I wouldn’t return while I was still able to draw. Personally, management liked me. My cartoons, however, really took gas.
I now freelance in Fairfax, Virginia, just a short distance from our Nation’s Capitol– or as I like to refer to it — Disneyland, Northeast. Here, I live the happy life with my wonderful Wife, Roslyn, who learned long ago to just ignore me. Rounding out our family are our Son and Daughter and four wonderful Grandchildren.