02 Nov Bankruptcy Bill and BAPCPA Man: Cartoons Come to Bankruptcy
(This cartoon is posted on BLN with the express permission of the creators of BAPCPA Man.)
Horowitz, a New York City bankruptcy lawyer, and Kendall, a professional illustrator and fellow New Yorker, met years ago playing ultimate Frisbee in Brooklyn for a team called the F-Train. They became fast friends and, about a year ago, teamed up to do cartoons about bankruptcy law and bankruptcy lawyers.
Horowitz has created several cartoon characters, including Bankruptcy Bill and his hapless colleague, Struck Finn (a transfer to the firm’s bankruptcy department from structured finance). He recently introduced us to BAPCPA Man, a superhero dealing with BAPCPA (Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act), our new and largely incomprehensible bankruptcy law. As any bankruptcy judge or lawyer can tell you, sometimes it really does take a superhero to deal with this mess! Thankfully, we now have one in BAPCPA Man.
Every superhero, of course, has its super villains. And so it is with BAPCPA Man, who faces off against the evil Subprimulus, the devastating Credi-Tor, and the intimidating and heartless Mortgantua (although you can friend him on Facebook), among others. “I told Gideon the bad guy names and concepts,” said Horowitz, “but I deferred to Gideon’s fertile imagination for how they would look.”
All the characters are featured on the Bankruptcy Bill website. In the relatively short time since its creation, the site, its content, and its characters have shown up on National Public Radio, The Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Above The Law, Reuters, The Deal’s Bankruptcy Insider, and on the popular bankruptcy website CreditSlips.org.
In addition to the witty comic strips, the site also features bankruptcy Haiku, which is surely something Horowitz learned to appreciate during his time in Japan teaching English and working for a Japanese bankruptcy lawyer. Haiku are short, structured poems written in 3 lines with 17 syllables. Horowitz’s poetry is skillfully infused with comedy, as you might expect. For example:
Litigation all for two
Cents on the dollar
And did I mention the “Bankruptcy Lover” song? Horowitz wrote and recorded what he believes to be the first and only country song about corporate bankruptcy, and released it via the fictional band Bankruptcy Bill & The Fresh Starts. Horowitz, who grew up in Princeton, New Jersey (far from Dixieland), says, “Back when I actually practiced law, I had this recurring urge to write a country song about bankruptcy.” The song’s lyrics include the promise to “wrassle with the banks ’til they restructure your debts” and “get rockin’ on the docket if you know what I mean.”
In contrast to Horowitz’s mainstream northeastern roots, Kendall grew up on a commune in West Virginia and was home schooled until high school. “According to my mom, she put pens in my crib at age one-and-a-half, and I’ve been drawing ever since,” says Kendall.
BAPCPA Man is Horowitz and Kendall’s most recent creation, a response to a growing–and unanticipated–following of the Bankruptcy Bill cartoon by consumer bankruptcy lawyers. “My background is on the corporate side and that’s what I figured the audience would be,” says Horowitz. “But the more I learn on the consumer side, and the more people I get to know, the more I appreciate it, especially since it provides an opportunity to help people facing financial hardship.” He stresses his aim of making the bankruptcy process “more accessible and less intimidating for the average person suddenly dealing with the possibility of a bankruptcy filing.”
Future plans for this dynamic duo include creating a substantive bankruptcy booklet for attorneys to educate clients, as well as a possible series of Schoolhouse Rock-type jingles explaining bankruptcy law and featuring–you guessed it–BAPCPA Man.
Horowitz, who is also the creator of the Bankruptcy Ballot Archive, likes to point out that the cartoons are really solutions he developed in response to specific problems. He says that he and Kendall are open to working with any organization or individual seeking creative solutions involving communications, social media, and community building.
Horowitz also hints at political aspirations for BAPCPA man, hoping that someday, when BAPCPA gets its badly needed overhaul (or maybe even repeal?), some Congressman might hold up a BAPCPA Man cartoon to illustrate the absurdity of the law’s ill-conceived, poorly-written drivel and its impact on average Americans. Let’s all hope so.
Many thanks to Horowitz and Kendall for their hard work. Long live BAPCPA Man! Now . . . where’d I put that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup?
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