Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Manitoba Markers Month: Mayor Steve Chew-Ya

Man, if my employment hadn't ran out, I can guarantee I wouldn't have put nearly as much effort into this one as I did.

In our final request of Manitoba Markers Month, international man of mystery C. Beresford Tipton asked for a simple but elegant idea: "Zombie Steve Juba". I'm pretty tuckered out from getting the final product complete, and I do hope the work shows in this one, so I'll try to keep the preamble brief.

Do you know the story of Bernie Wolfe? He feuded bitterly with then-Mayor Stephen Juba for at least a solid decade, helped to found a pro-business and centre-right political party (the Independent Citizens' Election Committee), and -- perhaps most notably -- served as the Deputy Mayor of Winnipeg under Juba from roughly 1973 or 1974 until Juba's departure in 1977.

Note that last bit, because it's the particularly funny part: Juba waited until literally the last moment to withdraw himself from the upcoming 1977 election, purely to dick over Wolfe's chances at setting up a campaign to succeed him. The ensuing scramble with both Juba and Wolfe out of the running ultimately meant that dark horse city councillor Robert A. Steen was elected Mayor, in a tight and completely ideologically confused contest.

Steen is best remembered today for dying in office within two years. They named a community centre and a bowling trophy after him. Juba, who died in 1993, is entirely unlikely to be forgotten; besides being the first and only Ukrainian-Canadian Mayor of Winnipeg, he also held the position longer (by far) than anybody else in city history.

And Wolfe? Bernie Wolfe is still alive somewhere, apparently, but he remains largely unknown even to the historically minded. No civic halls of fame, no Leo Mol busts -- even a spot in Jack Bumsted's Dictionary of Manitoba Biography eludes him thus far, although to be fair one of Bumsted's stated criteria for inclusion is that you have to be dead first.

Do you suppose he's the type to harbour a grudge? Man, I would be! If I make it to senior citizenship and I've still got outstanding vendettas, I plan to be giving stinkeyes and lighting fires and putting curses on dudes left and right. What good is retirement if you can't enjoy it? Something to look forward to, I say!

But, I digress. For your consideration, may I present the following:

See you tomorrow! Or Thursday at the latest! Whatever!


Nicole P. said...

Is there not a Bernie Wolfe School?


C. Beresford Tipton said...

Nicely done! I like to think of myself as something of a puppetmaster when it comes to satirical zombie-themed graphic novellas.

The preamble about Wolfe's relation to Le Grande Perogie was appreciated too...didn't know the backstory, there.