Primary Source Description

Peaking out as just a sliver from all four corners of the panel is a black fabric background. There is a rather large fluffy looking light pink thought cloud that takes up the majority of the space provided on the panel. The name “Andy Lippincott” appears in the center of the thought cloud in capitalized black block letters. Above the name in an italicized smaller black font is “in loving memory…” and below the name, the same font reads “community leader, conservationist, author, Olympic medalist, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize!” To the farthest right side of the thought cloud is an image of a cartoon man from above the knee up. He has black hair and a white complexion. He is wearing a white button up shirt with a tan colored cardigan over it and has black slacks on as well. His nose is a very prominent feature and he has both hands tucked away in his pockets. He seems to be a bit slouched over but maintains a small yet friendly grin. He is Andy Lippincott.

Right below Lippincott are the dates of his life, 1945-1990, in the same bold black font as his name. The thought cloud, the lettering, and the image of Lippincott are all made out of a soft cloth-like fabric and have been sewn on to the panel to hold it in place.

A second panel is found right below this one which contributes more information about Andy Lippincott. The panel has a sky blue background and a series of comic strips presented as four strips on a vertical 8.5 inch by 11 inch white fabric. There are 20 of these white fabrics that border around a black rectangular center that restates “Andy Lippincott” with white lettering. His birth year and death year are centered underneath his name along with “In loving memory of Andy Lippincott, community leader, conservationist, author, Olympic medalist, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize” placed under the years. All of the lettering and numbering is in a small white font.

These two different panels are sewn on to a lavender cloth rectangular block. This block differs from other blocks that make up the AIDS Memorial Quilt because other blocks contain eight panels yet this one only contains two horizontal panels which are spread out on a vertical block. Both these panels were created by G. Scott Austen, Marceo Miranda and Juan-Carlos Castano. These panels were given to the Names Foundation but was told to remain separate from the AIDS quilt since Andy was a fictional character that symbolized a life infected with AIDS in gay community.

Andy Lippincott is one of the only fictional characters feature on an AIDS Memorial Quilt. He made is first appearance January 1976 in the Doonesbury comic strip and came out as a gay character. He then reappeared in 1982 and in 1989 he was diagnosed with AIDS. Throughout the years he struggled with the disease and eventually died from the it. Garry Trudeau is an american cartoonist and the creator of the Doonesbury comic strips. Trudeau became the first comic strip artist ever to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning in 1975.

Gary Trudeau:

Gary Trudeau Reflects on 40 Years of Drawing Doonesbury:

Comic strips from Doonesbury: Andy Lippincott comes out as gay

Andy Lippincott battling AIDS

Trudeau sheds light on taboo subjects by utilizing his humor, artistic abilities, and his voice as a person growing up in his generation. The significance of including Andy’s character in this comic strip was to help bring the AIDS/HIV crisis into popular culture. Several of the 900 newspapers that contained the comic strip refused to publish the strips regarding Andy’s character due to controversy surrounding AIDS/HIV and after the death of Andy, many members of the gay community were outraged by the insensitivity of the strip yet anti-AIDS organizations praised its social awareness. The San Francisco Chronicle even ran the news of Lippincott’s death on its obituary page.

The creators of Andy Lippincott’s AIDS quilt panel used the comics that are bordering the black rectangle as timeline for the progression of Andy’s disease and in many ways it represents the progression of AIDS affecting a community.

Article: AIDS in the ’80s: The rise of a new civil rights movement

“As the epidemic unfolded, it began to bring people together.” -Dr. Jesse Peel on AIDS in the ’80s

On May 24 1990, the very last comic with Andy includes his death “quietly in his bed, the window open to a sunny day and a coveted C.D. of the Beach Boy’s ‘Wouldn’t It be Nice’ playing”.

Andy Lippincott’s Death

The Beach Boys – Wouldn’t It Be Nice


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