the rats are winning

Jesse Marinoff Reyes ( Jesse Marinoff Reyes Design, Maplewood, N.J.)

Character decal, “Rat Fink,” ca. 1990.

JMR Design

Though Rat Fink came into the world sometime in the mid-to-later-1950s, and is the “creation” of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth—an appropriation/adaptation/knockoff of characters Stanley Mouse had been doing on teeshirts in the hot rod scene at the time, his “Mouse” self-logo and the cartoony monster, “Freddy Flypogger”—Roth was more of an “art director” and not necessarily the artist who crafted the character, or in particular this image. Indeed, numerous cartoonists who were associated with Roth (1932-2001) over the years had a hand in shaping Rat Fink as we know him today. Rat Fink was emblazoned on teeshirts and featured in cartoons in Car Craft magazine (this particular design is fairly reminiscent of the depiction of Rat Fink on a 1963 Aurora Model Kit, painted by one of Aurora’s artists). So Rat Fink makes it to my RANDOM AND ANONYMOUS column because even though we can “credit” Roth for concepting the character (via ripping off Stanley Mouse) we can’t quite be sure who drew this image which was likely redrawn from previous images.

Be that as it may, I picked up this decal and a signed teeshirt (of this image) from Big Daddy Roth one day on a trip back to Seattle while hanging out one day with the redoubtable Art Chantry (who might likely know which one of Roth’s stable is responsible—or not!).

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