Annie Nocenti: Wishes & Hopes for 2017

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As we near the new year we’ve asked a special guest every day to take a moment to reflect on 2016 and to tell us about one photograph that best captures the year for him or her. It’s an assortment of treats for you to enjoy and contemplate as we all reflect on the year that has passed and conjure our hopes and wishes for the new year to come. It’s our way of sharing the sweetness of the season and of saying ‘Thank You’ for inspiring us throughout the year.

Ann “Annie” Nocenti is an American journalist, writer, teacher, editor, and filmmaker. She is best known for her work in comic books and while at Marvel Comics she edited New Mutants and The Uncanny X-Men and Annie has collaborated artistically to create Marvel characters like Typhoid Mary, Blackheart, Mojo, and Spiral. A whip-smart firecracker with a fiendishly good sense of humor, we like Annie because she has outspoken political views and often kicks butt with a rhetorical bit of flair. Today Annie tells us about a skull on her rural estate that has taken on dastardly characteristics in her writers’ mind this year.


Bulls head on a tree somewhere in Upstate New York
May 2016
Photo by Annie Nocenti

“Donald Trump” is staked to a tree along the creek I live on. He’s got long devil horns, an empty skull, and the infamous hair hangs windblown between hollowed eye sockets. Where did this bit of accidental political art come from? A year ago a farmer friend dumped a bull’s head in my yard and I buried it.

When I dug it up a year later, the bugs had done their stealth job and cleaned the skull. It still had one flop of dirty blond hair, and resembled Trump. When a chipmunk peeked out one of the Trump skull’s eyeholes, or a woodpecker nattered away at the bugs in his belfry, I was getting all the savvy, grassroots election commentary I need.

This past summer the skull became especially beloved by visiting children, who tumbled out of cars and rushed over to say hello to Trump. He seemed content to sneer down at them from his high perch on the tree. Kids were fascinated by the skull’s resemblance to Trump, especially the young ones, who, like receptive little tuning forks, feel the cloud of giddy anxiety and hilarity that emanates from adults when they speak of him.

Now, months later, my Trump effigy, with its hollow eyes and thousand yard stare, is no longer a joke.

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