Oberman, the Footnote
The Snow White tale retold
Story by Mike Walsh
Image selection, paste-up, and hardcopy design by Ted Stamas
"Oberman the Footnote is a tale full of moral dilemmas, hard-boiled dialogue, and pesky midgets. While the story is funny as hell, it's the graphics that make it worth looking into. And, surprisingly enough, the ending surprised me. That never happens Oberman turns out to be quite a treat." --Jim Knipfel, NY Press
Its a wild construction, looking very much like a cross between a modern novel and an adult comic book. Its loads of fun to readthe story is humorously written while recognizing the images and actors from history really adds to the book. Well done Factsheet Five
No one has ever put quite the spin on [Snow White] as Mike Walsh has in Oberman, the Footnote, a somewhat political, somewhat raunchy, and thoroughly amusing take on the centuries-old fable. Frank Lewis, South Philadelphia Review
This modernization of the Brothers Grimm is totally fascinating It ties folktale, fantasy and realpolitik into an effectively icky bundle Stamas pairs image and text on some gut level of mad association Dont ask me why this stuff works, but it does." Derek Davis, Welcomat
"Oberman the Footnote" is a retelling of the Snow White tale as a romantic and political intrigue. I wrote the story some time around 1990 in Philadelphia. A year or two later, Ted Stamas, who was also living in Philly, produced an amazing comicbook-like version of the story by cutting and pasting all 10,000 words of the text with images on pages like a comic book. The Oberman the Footnote storyboard, as we called it, was 84 pages long and contained approximately 300 separate cells. The images were appropriated from magazines, catalogs, old books, '60s porn, wherever Stamas found them. This was not his first such storyboard. He had developed the form to illustrate a couple of the hardboiled screenplays he had been writing at the time.
Not long after completing the Oberman storyboard, Stamas moved to Ithaca, NY, and left the layout sheets with me. I decided that this strange creation had to be seen. Besides making photocopies for friends, I photographed all 300 frames on slides. This took a couple days on my knees in my livingroom with a 35mm camera equipped with a macro lens as well as several bike rides into Center City to the photo developer with the cheapest rates.
I then did a reading of the story sometime around 1994 at an art gallery while a friend ran through the slides from a meticulously marked up copy of the story. This event, which drew about 40 paying customers, was a success, at least as far as I was concerned, so I ended up repeating the performance two or three more times at various spaces around Center City Philly.
I also convinced a couple of musician friends, guitarist Kev Monko and saxophonist Mark Brown, to write a soundtrack to the story and perform it during the reading and slide show. Mike Smith was added on percussion. We even produced a video of the performance, containing all the slides, with the help of George Stewart and Rick Morris.
So although "Oberman the Footnote" was never published, it has led a rich and varied life. Now it finds new life here on the web. I hope you enjoy it.
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