Sunday, July 15, 2007


Last Tuesday, Doug Marlette was riding along an Oxford street with the town's high school drama coach. The weather was rainy, and the car hydroplaned and crashed into a big tree. The driver survived, but Marlette was killed.

Mr. Marlette had been helping the Oxford High School Theatre Department with their production of Kudzu, the musical adaptation of Marlette's comic strip of the same name.

The kids were preparing to take the show to the Edinburgh International Festival. As far as I know, they will still perform the show there August 17-22.

Besides creating Kudzu, the 57-year-old North Carolina native was a Pulitzer prize winning editorial cartoonist and a novelist.

Kudzu is one of my Dad's favorite comic strips. He often relates some witty thing that one of the strip's main characters, the Rev. Will B. Dunn has said. I've never taken much of an interest in Mr. Marlette's work, but after seeing a rebroadcast presentation by him on Book TV, I plan on reading his novel The Bridge.

In the presentation, he talked about what it means to be a Southern writer. I was engrossed in his speech and wish I could order a copy to watch again later. (It's coming on again Monday, July 16, if you are interested in seeing it.). I'm sad that I never took the time to follow his career, and I am relieved that he is survived by his writing.