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A typical scene in Migraine Boy
Migraine Boy is a comic strip created by
Fiering, which has been published in several mainstream printed
media and TV.
Usually presented in black and white
six-panel strips, the comic is set in a typical american suburban
neighbourhood backyard, and deals with a bad-tempered kid suffering
from chronic migraine, and his interaction with his
neighbour who constantly approaches him trying to befriend him.
The stories have a grim, sometimes absurd or surreal sense of
humor, and often end up with Migraine Boy reacting violently to the
irritation produced by his neighbour.
The comic strip made its first appearance in 1992 in the
Seattle-based Hype magazine.
Over the course of the years, it was also published in other
printed media, such as the Spy magazine, Flagpole
Magazine, the Village Voice, UTNE Reader, The Baffler, Rolling Stone, and
In 1994, the US rock band R.E.M. chose Fiering to create the album cover
for their album titled "Monster", after lead singer Michael Stipe saw
Migraine Boy in the Flagpole magazine. This
ultimately resulted in Flagpole introducing Stipe and
Fiering to each other, and Migraine Boy being featured in
the album's inside booklet.
A year later, in 1995 a 64-page book, called "Migraine Boy's
Fairweather Friends" (ISBN 0312143699, 9780312143695), was
published in the US by St. Martin's
Griffin, featuring an introductory text written by Stipe.
In 1996, animation studio GreenHead Media produced a series of
twelve thirty-second short clips for MTV, animated by James Dean Conklin, which were
aired as fillers over the duration of that
Later, in year 2000, a second book, titled "I Don't Love You!:
The Best of Migraine Boy" (ISBN 0943151910, 9780943151915) was
published by Slave Labor Graphics.
In 2001, Fiering and Conklin independently produced an animated
short film called "Migraine Boy: The Bet", technically superior to
those aired on MTV, which featured colored 3D graphics.
The Migraine Boy website was nominated for the 1997 Webby Awards, in the
"Art and Design" category.
- Migraine Boy
- Bearing gritted teeth and a permanent frown, Migraine Boy is
the main character of the strip, and the one that gives it its
name. Although his real name is never clearly stated, it is
suggested to be "Joey" in the episode named "Blossom". He
appears as a bad-tempered young boy with his migraine symbolized in
the comic strips as wiggly lines around his head. In MTV's animated
version, the migraine is also accompanied by a pulsating low sound,
and the appearance of the wiggly lines and the intensity of the
sound apparently respond to Migraine Boy's level of
- Migraine Boy's neighbour
- Appearing in mostly all of the strips, Migraine Boy's
overjoyful neighbour is the most recurring character besides
Migraine Boy himself. Despite his name never being mentioned, he
has unofficially come to be known as Aspirin Boy. His interventions in the comic
strips often consist of him trying to cheer up Migraine Boy, most
frequently by trying to play games with him (usually dress-up
ones), or trying to find ways to relieve him from his headache. He
is also shown to frequently have the necessity to love and be loved
by Migraine Boy. In numerous episodes, suggestions are even made
that his feelings for Migraine Boy go beyond those of friendship
and sometimes tend towards homosexual love, which disgusts Migraine
Boy even more than usual.
- Tylenol, named after the
popular painkiller often used to treat migraines,
is Migraine Boy's shih tzu pet dog. Although he is rarely
seen, he has been shown to be able to perform human-like tasks such
as talking or weightlifting.