• The comic

The other day, two remarkable items arrived by snail mail. The first was a three-page letter handwritten on actual stationery by someone who is not only under 80 but under 30. The second, enclosed with the first, was a comic book.

Both had been written by Delia Jean Hickey. Her long letter began:

In early March, I was assigned to complete a research comic for a class at SAIC [School of the Art Institute of Chicago]. I chose to cover the history of the St. Pat’s Day Queen Contest, an event I have participated in for the last 2 years (and am sadly to old to participate in any longer).

I knew anecdotally of Mayor Daley’s alleged Dago remark to ’98 Queen Jen Battistoni, as my family and found the story rather amusing. I thought I would work it into my comic somehow.

Hickey’s letter continues, but let’s break away for some history.