89-year-old man sketches weekly cartoons for townie bar


Brian Munoz

Stained glass at PK’s bar juxtaposes Robert Hunter’s drawings Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, at PK’s bar in Carbondale. Hunter, a retired comic book artist from Carbondale, has been drawings sketches at PK’s bar in Carbondale over the past 10 years. Note: This is an in-camera double exposure. (Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz)

By Jeremy Brown , Staff Writer

89-year-old Robert Hunter has been drawing weekly cartoons of PK’s Bar for as long as he can remember.

“It’s like he just kind of fell into everything,” Gwen Hunt said, owner of PK’s. “You have to put yourself where Bob is, because sometimes I can’t understand where he got his ideas.”

Hunt said Hunter is very unique, so his ideas can be hard to follow, but she thinks he’s a very funny man. She said Hunter drew a lot of the images on PK’s beer mugs.


“On his, he’s got a finger. If you ask him how he’s doing, he’ll show you,” Hunt said.

Hunter, the artist who creates these cartoons for PK’s, still makes a new cartoon to put on the wall every week. He said he started them for one reason.

“I wanted to get out of the basement,” Hunter said. “I was in the basement doing woodwork. For many years, I carved wood. I’ll tell you, you get so tired of being in the basement that you will do anything to get out of it.”

Hunter said even though the wall space is very commercialized in PK’s, his cartoons have commandeered a permanent space.

“There are a lot of people that want to advertise what they want to advertise,” Hunter said. “[But] they will not violate that place.”

Hunter said that he used to do cartoons for the paper. When asked which paper, Hunter laughed, telling other customers at the bar what the interviewer had just asked.

“There’s only one,” Hunter said. “I used to do it for the Illinoisan. I did that for a long time, and it became boring.”


Hunter said he didn’t intend for his sketches to become a weekly cartoon when he started. Originally, the cartoon sketches were also less wild than his more recent sketches.

“I was originally less spidery, earlier on,” Hunter said.

There is no real purpose or direction for Hunter’s sketches, he said that customers were interested in the creatures he would draw, so he started to do them regularly.

“It’s whatever is in your head,” Hunter said. “If you have no hair, you just say whatever’s on your head.”

The concept of the cartoon is to take the same template of a bar, typically with eight stools and put something on it. The idea that the characters are the only ones changing appeals to him.

“The character of the place has to do with the people who come here,” Hunter said. “This is a townie bar.”

Jim Eagelston, a regular at PK’s, said Hunter had been doing the cartoons for at least as long as Eagelston has been coming.

“I don’t know when he started doing them,” Eagelston said. “I’ve only been coming in here about 10 years.”

Eagelston said Hunter likes to do eccentric drawings, so there are many cartoons with nude characters.

“He actually draws them to real form,” Eagelston said. “You won’t get a comic chick up there with big boobs. They’re all frumpy and weird, that’s the way he likes it.”

Hunter said he has no issues with drawing nude characters.

“I do not object to any nudity or so forth,” Hunter said. “I would do so much more of it because it’s easy to do. You have no idea.”

Hunter’s cartoons add to the atmosphere of the bar. Some people come in just to see the latest cartoons, and don’t even order a drink Eagleston said.

“He’s got so much going on in his brain, I’m surprised he doesn’t explode,” Eagelston said. “He does more at his age than I do at 50. I really respect the man.”

Staff writer Jeremy Brown can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JeremyBrown_DE.

To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.