This week, we sat down with Bud Grace of THE PIRANHA CLUB, who talked to us about everyone’s favorite brick-filled-purse-toting mother-in-law, Mother Packer!
DailyINK: So, Bud, we understand that you’re an expert on mothers-in-law.
Bud Grace: Despite what you may think, not all mothers-in-law are ill tempered, bone crunching brutes in hair curlers.
DI: Really? We weren’t aware of this.
Bud: I personally have been married twice, and I can attest to the fact. My first mother-in-law was an absolute sweetheart. She adored me. I should have married her instead of her daughter. My second mother-in-law was just the opposite. Her opinion of me was… Well, have you ever scraped something you picked up on a frisbee field off your shoe with a stick? I was a bum, the bottom of the barrel, the dregs of humanity. I didn’t care much for her either, but I was impressed by her excellent judgement. Despite her opinion of me, she wasn’t particularly prone to violence, nor was she very wirey, and I believe that on a good day, if she tried anything rough, I could probably take her out. So the similarity between Enos’ mother-in-law and mine stops at their common good sense.
DI: So tell us more about Mother Packer. How exactly did she come into being?
Bud: Dr. Enos Pork was the first character that ever popped out of my head. This was about ten years before Ernie (The original title of The Piranha Club) first appeared. Just as he is now, he was then a thick-headed, chain smoking quack. When his wife, Frau Pork, appeared on the scene, she was the heavy. Now, the only time she beats up on Enos is when he comes home plastered at two in the morning, and she whacks him with a vase or some cast iron cookware. All this changed when Mother Packer arrived. Enos was sitting at the bar as gay as a lark, and when Sid asked him why he was so happy he replied that once a month Frau Pork had a little surprise for him when he came home (wink, wink, nudge). Of course on that particular occasion, the surprise was that Mother Packer had come to live with them.
DI: We guess that’s not the surprise he was looking for. Where did she come from, exactly? Literally or metaphorically? Both are good.
Bud: Alferda (that’s her first name, which I have mentioned upon rare occasions) Packer was named after a famous American, namely Alferd Packer. If you don’t know who he was, by all means give him a Google. She has a sister, whose name I can’t recall who lives in a city in the Midwest which I can’t recall either. But she has appeared and on one occasion wreaked her own personal brand of mayhem on poor Enos.
DI: But Mother Packer is more or less an equal-opportunity bully, isn’t she?
Bud: Mother Packer’s hapless son-in-law is not the only victim of her displeasure. Thugs, mashers (actual or suspected), those who are rude or impolite, loud mouths, shysters and conmen may all experience the disapproval of her right uppercut. Consider her epic battle with Mike Tyson some years back. Although, by far, the most frequent victim of her non-son-in-law confrontations is Sid. But all of these unfortunate shlubs have one thing in common. They deserve it.
DI: What does she do when she’s not beating up on scumbags, then? Or does that take up all of her time?
Bud: I recently discovered and consequently illustrated the fact that Mother Packer is a member of a ladies’ social organization called the Bayonne Mother-In-Law’s Club. She also competes in the annual national son-in-law tossing competition, which she wins with alarming regularity.
I have twenty or thirty characters who show up at the Piranha Club from time to time. If I only had a few characters, like most comic strips, I’m afraid I’d quickly get bored, and I wouldn’t enjoy my work nearly as much as I do. Mother Packer is a real gem. I love her to death, and she happens to be one of my favorites.