Short comic by Chris Ware, author of Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid On Earth, published in issue 6 of the McSweeney's Quarterly.

As the story goes, Chris Ware was asked to contribute to an anthology of comics for kids called Little Lit. But, in the words of McSweeney's,

Mr. Ware sent the editors sketches, but these sketches were duly deemed, by all parties involved, inappropriate for kids, and were rejected on the basis of this inappropriateness. And so, Mr. Ware created another comic, a less brutally sad comic, and it was accepted and published.

The rejected sketch, of course, was what had ended up in the hands of McSweeney's, which they published under the full title

A VERY SAD STORY ABOUT
A FROG AND A BANJO, NOT AT ALL
APPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN

Every piece in McSweeney's #6 is accompanied by a song on the included CD. The musical accompaniment for this comic is titled Frog and Banjo, by M. Doughty of Soul Coughing.

The comic runs about 23 panels. McSweeney's reproduced it both in the originally intended one-page format, and then again in sections on the following pages so that the individual panels could be easily read. As it is a sketch, each panel is drawn in messy pencil, full of erasures, guide lines, and smudges -- a look that illustrates the bleak, fatalistic charm of the story far better than bright colors would.

The story begins,

ONCE UPON A TIME,
there lived a frog. He was a very nice frog.
Yet he had not a friend in the world.

The story begins and ends with the frog alone, in his room, with his banjo -- but in the last panel, he will play his banjo no more. Describing how he came to that point would spoil the story. I will say that it involves a beautiful princess and a treacherous postman. I highly encourage you to pick up McSweeney's #6 and discover it for yourself.

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