It’s rather unexpected, given his J.D. Salinger-like reclusiveness and 19th century lifestyle, but as he joked in his first Tweet, it’s probably just to get more publicity for his books. Now he’ll be able to hawk his wares directly instead of relying on Matt Groening and co. mentioning them in Simpsons audio commentaries.
That first Tweet, by the way, was made back in April, but it appears nobody really knew about his account until current Simpsons producer Matt Selman tweeted about it on Sunday night, which is maybe as a good of a confirmation as we’ll get.
Swartzwelder’s currently using a framegrab of himself from The Simpsons as his avatar (specifically, when he was portrayed as a mental patient in “Hurricane Neddy”) and is following 7 people, including former co-worker Conan O’Brien, the ghost of Babe Ruth, and prolific Mad Magazine writer Dick DeBartolo. His Twitter biography describes himself as “a smoker with Emmy awards up the wazoo.”
So far, his Tweets are pretty similar to the kinds of jokes he made in George Meyer’s short-lived Army Man zine in the late 80’s, which featured tons of short, absurd jokes. Surprisingly, few Army Man contributors have taken to Twitter, and none do it regularly. At just 15 Tweets, Swartzwelder is already the most prolific Army Man man by far.