You may have seen this postcard floating around Providence, and hanging in a frame in Craftland. It contains references to the streets of Providence, and one-liners that the creator recalled from his friends. But few people really know about the eccentric figure behind it – The Mad Peck.
One of the few original things Peck ever drew were his letters.
His real name is John Peck, and he’s spent his life doing all sorts of odd jobs. Peck came to Providence from New York as a Brown University student in 1960. How did he pay for school? He would sell smoking paraphernalia to hippies in the middle of nowhere through a mail order catalogue with bogus advertisements.
After a delayed graduation from Brown in 1967, Peck began working at the Shipyard Drive-In Movie theater, where he got to know B movies damn well. And thus, began Peck’s venture into the pop-culture scene in Providence. He worked with Les Daniels and Martin Mull, and began making comics as a continuation of his mail order hustling ads. His comics “borrowed” characters from other comics and cartoons, which landed him in legal trouble later in his career. Why draw what you can trace, and why trace what you can paste? Peck was also known to DJ for WBRU, under the name Dr. Oldie. Dr. Oldie was also a character in his music review comics.
The Copycat Cast of Peck's comics.
He was underpaid severely for his work, as most underground artists are. But lately, his work has been receiving attention in auctions. He would illustrate psychedelic rock posters for the likes of Cream and Janis Joplin. Despite this however, Peck prefers to stay under the radar. He would rather collect niche treasures and live his life than be famous. But this doesn’t stop us from loving his legally dubious and eclectic work.
A widely bootlegged concert poster by Peck.
Since The Mad Peck is pretty averse to photographs and publicity, you heard none of this from me.