NewsPub Notes

Celebrating Artist Patrick Dean’s Life Expressed in Monsters

Editor’s note: “Cartoonist Patrick Dean drew a weekly strip for Athens’ alternative newsweekly, Flagpole magazine, from 1997 to 2006, as well as many covers. Influenced by Jack Davis, George Grosz, Tomi Ungerer and early MAD magazine, he populates his scenes with a wide variety of characters interacting with one another, capturing a broad range of Athens’ population. Jokes abound, and monsters are humanized as much as people are monsterfied. In 2018, Dean was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as motor neurone disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease. He continues to draw, despite his increasing difficulties doing so. This small retrospective begins with his student work at UGA, from which he graduated in 1998, and ends with his recent comics about illness and mortality.”—From the introduction by Hillary Brown to the program for “The Monsters are Due on Broad Street,” the retrospective of Patrick Dean’s work at the Georgia Museum of Art in December, 2020, shortly before his death in May, 2021. (The exhibit is online at

Patrick’s brother, Alan, who resembles him enough to be his twin, except for the seven years’ difference between them, spoke Sunday, Mar. 27, along with their mother, Virginia, and Patrick’s daughter, Eloise, at a memorial celebration for Dean in the museum’s sculpture garden.

These are Alan’s remarks:

“From the earliest age, Patrick was certainly someone who marched to the beat of his own drum. He had his interests, and if he was the only one who was interested in this, well that’s just how it was, and he was okay with that. He’d grow a rat-tail whether anyone liked it or not and cut it off when he was ready. He’d wear T-shirts of bands no one else knew about or make his own T-shirts of comic book characters no one else knew about.

“But with this independence and individuality there can be an element of loneliness, and though Patrick wasn’t afraid to be who he was, he also was not a solitary person who chose to be alone. 

“I was lucky to spend so much time with Patrick, as documented by this fraction of pictures I have of him. We spent a lot of time together as a family—holidays, beach vacations, etc. The longest we were apart was when I went to college, and even then I saw my family often on holidays and summer and random weekends.

“We grew closer when I came home for a couple of years after graduation and lived in Rome. For some of that time I rented a house in Rome, but I was at my parents’ nearly every day and definitely every Sunday morning for cinnamon rolls, and Patrick and [I] watching ‘90s Nickelodeon shows and ‘Mystery Science Theater.’ Then I went to graduate school, and Patrick soon followed within a year’s time for his college. We were roommates for most of those years of school and a few years after, before we both got married, and during this time Patrick finally came into his own.

“You see, at some point early in the college years, I think Patrick was becoming tired of being this unique person and tired of the kind of loneliness that can be associated with it. I know he even thought about somehow being less unique and putting aside his interests in comics and art and things like that in hopes of becoming part of something else.

“But in college, during the second half of his time there, he finally got into graphic design and met people, then did work for Flagpole and met people, and through all those people met more people and finally he was among his own.

“That may have felt like a long walk to get to the point, but what I want Patrick’s friends to know is how much they meant to him. Maybe he told you, or maybe he showed it in other ways, but to everyone who knew him and knew how great he was—how funny, how talented, how cool—it’s hard to believe he didn’t always have this group that rightfully adored and loved him.

“His life was way too short, but I know he found happiness in the family that raised him and in the family he created and made—the family of a great workplace, and the family of close friends and like-minded artists and creators who knew and loved him.”