Snap the magazine in place, cock your rifle and take aim at the latest entry into my award-dodging “Famous Last Words” project.
Our latest drop dead funny example of gallows humour comes from an unusually-monikered mobster named Domonic Willard. Willard was a low-level bootlegger running bathtub gin (other liquors, indeed other bathroom fixtures are available) around America during Prohibition (1920-1933).
Prohibitionists were staunchly anti-alcohol. Hardliners advocated public flogging, imprisonment in a bottle-shaped cage (I love a visual metaphor) or even execution for anyone caught with a bottle of booze. That’s a death sentence for the drunkard and up to four generations of their offspring. Now that’s hardline! Little wonder a gin runner like Domonic Willard ended up in front of a firing squad.
Domonic’s crimes may not be a matter of record but his last words will live forever. Facin’ a fusilladin’, Willard was asked if he had any last requests. He replied with the wonderful line:
“Why, yes, a bulletproof vest!”
Domonic Willard: low-ranking gangster, bill-topping comedy genius.
The artwork below hopefully helps illustrate the Willard case. As usual, I could be accused of beating you over the head with a big, dumb visual metaphor. Fonts in use are the wonderful Letterbox Berber and the heavily 20s inspired Filmotype Keynote.
These illustrations are inspired by communist poster art from the 1970s. They’re all heavy on in-profile silhouettes and rifles pointing towards some poor unfortunate.
Domonic Willard never got his bulletproof vest. Even if he had’ve done, I doubt that natty yellow blindfold would’ve offered much protection against a well placed headshot.
I hope you take a few useful bullet points (couldn’t resist that one) away from this from this particular barrel (or this one) of fun. Don’t forget to leave something in the comments section if you have any observations or suggestions.
I’m always looking for new entrants into my ever-expanding “Book of the Dead” so keep an eye out for any stonkers.
Remember to lay off the bathtub gin, that stuff’ll make you go blind!