If Millionaire’s domestication has a lot to do with his wife and two daughters (ages two and four), it also stems from a promise he made to himself ten years back. “On my fortieth birthday, I found myself on top of a taxicab going about forty miles an hour down the street. Drunk. I decided I should either jump off [then], or wait till it gets up to 60. So I jumped. And I split my leg open. I thought to myself, well, I think it’s finally time I knock this off. After that, I started to calm down and get to work at the drawing table, and really put a lot of energy into the books and the comics. I met my wife, and now I’ve got kids. I became tamed, as they say.”
So, no more drinking? “Oooooh, plenty of drinking! But I had to curb it somehow. I know anyone from AA will tell you this doesn’t work, but it worked for me. I just switched to only beer. Originally, I decided to drink only wine and beer. But I’d pick up, like, four bottles of merlot and chug ’em down fast, which is just as bad as getting drunk on whiskey. So after that, I switched to beer only. Budweiser. The blood of America. I like cheap American beer because it’s the kind of beer you can drink all night long, and you only get a mild buzz from it. At least I do. So, I’ll think of the ideas during the day when I’m running around. And then I sketch them quickly before I start drinking. Then around nine or ten o’clock, the kids are in bed, and I settle down and I start to drink Budweiser and draw.” By the time he’s done, at around 2 am, “I’m just drunk enough to fall asleep.”
Millionaire’s appetites might be frowned upon in polite society these days, but in many ways he has always been a man out of time. In his cartoons, biplanes and bathyspheres and Model Ts are the preferred modes of transportation. His characters spout antiquated exclamations such as ye gads and harumph and blast it! Indeed, in many ways, he seems to have no taste at all for the modern world. In one Maakies cartoon, a man who looks much like Millionaire himself pores over magazines with names like Ships’n’Such and Ye Olde.
“Sigh,” he says. “I was born in the wrong century!”
Then, out the window, he hears a sound: clip clop clip clop whishhhh CRACK!
“What’s that!?” he exclaims. “A stage? A buckboard? A coach and four?”
He rushes to the window, looking out to see a dominatrix strolling down the sidewalk in heavy heels, whipping a man who’s crawling on all fours, naked except for a truss and a leash, a ball gag in his mouth.