Introducing Ethiopia.


Ethiopia is undoubtedly one of the strangest looking comic strip characters ever created. He just stands there, wide-eyed and always smiling. Whether he’s happy, sad or scared, he’s always got that stupid grin on his face. One cannot help but wonder why. If it sends the message for one to be constantly optimistic regardless of the conditions of life, it sends a very strange one indeed.


His mother’s even stranger. She has no hair and is constantly mad. Never do we see her in a happy mood. One can’t help but wonder if she’s abusive. And what is it with her snapping every time she hears the word Saturday? Apparently it’s some type of gag.

Strangest of all is the cartoonist himself. We know absolutely nothing about him except his weird name. Ladies and gentlemen, this guy calls himself Tooth Paste. We never see him, never hear from him, but he’s there, giving us this bizarre and frightening cartoon character, hanging out with his freaky friends. That is, when he’s not at home trying to kill his mother. Yes, Ethiopia is the first cartoon character who enjoys killing his mom.

That’s got to generate a little controversy. Forget the falling anvils and farting jokes, what we really need is a little boy whom we never see go to school, fully intent on killing his mom. What does that put into the minds of millions of little kids as they read the comics pages? No wonder civilization is on the fritz. If newspaper editors allow comics about boys killing their moms, then it won’t be long before we see another comic strip mother putting live grenades in her son’s lunch bag.


Never fear, though. All it takes for Ethiopia to kill his bald-headed mom is to say the word “Saturday”. She goes into conniptions and explodes. Comedy gold! But somehow, she always manages to come back from the dead to continue nagging poor Ethiopia into some sense about what he’s doing.


We have to go back to Tooth Paste, the creator and cartoonist who draws Ethiopia. He (or she?) is a recluse, mailing in his (or her?) strips via mail from a post office box. With the advent of the Internet, Tooth Paste e-mails his strips from an anonymous e-mail service. We never know who he is. These strips have been coming out for decades and they’re still bizarre and as frightening as ever. Apparently, Tooth Paste shows no signs of slowing down.

He recently tried to make a full-length animated movie starring his beloved and controversial character. The studios wouldn’t venture into Paste’s vision for fear of bringing Ethiopia to a mass audience. His friends are so ugly they’re bound to frighten small children. And his killing his mom doesn’t exactly appeal to parents either. The movie was ditched, forever sealing Tooth Paste’s true identity.

The strips keep coming. Oh, do they keep coming. They never lose their appeal, regardless of the bizarre antics of Ethiopia and his friends. Like it or not, he’s here to stay, from here until Saturday.


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