I’d like to share with you a parable: the parable of Bob the Angel.
A girl was walking down a darkly lit city street late at night. A man jumped out from the shadows and attacked her, suddenly she was suffocating and disoriented as hands clasped around her neck and the force of his attack started to push her down. She tried to yell as she struggled to pull his arms from her neck while she crumpled backwards to the ground, “God . . . help me!”
The next thing she remembers—just as the fear consumed her, and right as she disappeared into the misery and despair of helplessness—was a loud crash and an explosion of glass which rained down upon her and her attacker. The assailant’s lifeless body was suspended above her, held from collapsing on her by an unknown force, and then pulled away from hovering over her and dropped onto the pavement beside her.
She opened her eyes in the faint shadowy light, to see black matted hair and a long, black beard framing the eyes of a man. The smell of alcohol on his breath would have knocked her out if the adrenaline was not still trilling through her veins.
There he stood, God’s angel, off-kilter and drunk, with a broken whiskey bottle in his hand.
“You probably shouldn't be walking through here this late at night,” was all he said as he turned away.
“Wait! What’s your name?” she asked, still stunned half sitting up on the ground.
All she heard as he walked away was his trailing voice calling, “Bob’s as good as any. . . .”
From band posters stapled to telephone poles to the advertisements hanging at bus shelters to the inspirational prints that adorn office walls, posters surround us everywhere—but do we know how they began? Telling the story of this ephemeral art form, Elizabeth E. Guffey reexamines the poster’s roots in the nineteenth century and explores the…