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Tomi Ungerer – RIP

Author, Illustrator and cartoonist Tomi Ungerer has passed away.

Jean-Thomas (Tomi) Ungerer
November 28, 1931 – February 9, 2019*
*Ungerer died sometime during the night of Friday February 8 to Saturday February 9.

In 1956, he traveled to America, hitting New York in 1956 with $65 in his pocket and many drawings whereupon Ursula Nordstrom, a publisher at Harper and Row, published his first book, The Mellops Go Flying, which arrived to great critical acclaim in 1957, the first of many subsequent books.

More from Night Flight:

Madison Avenue ad firms began to take notice too and he began to create illustrations for print ads, which led to magazine covers and posters, and he was hired to do including advertising poster designs, often emblazoned with witty aphorisms, sometimes working for mega-corporations like Pepsi one day, and doing an anti-Vietnam War illustrations for a magazine like Evergreen the next. He created advertisements for The New York Times in the ’60s and illustrated for the Op-Ed page, as well as for Esquire, Life and The Village Voice.

From the introduction of a 2915 Paris Review interview (nsfw illustrations):

While working professionally in these PG-rated circles, he remained a deeply political artist, self-publishing bold posters against the Vietnam War, a book of harsh satire called The Underground Sketchbook, and sadomasochistic erotic drawings. But upon discovering his erotic work, the children’s-book community was scandalized. His books were removed from public libraries and his reputation tarnished. Dejected and unable to find work, he left New York in 1971, moving to Nova Scotia with his wife before finding a permanent home in Cork, Ireland.

Tomi Ungerer’s Official Website

Last month The Comics Journal resumed publication with a cover featured Ungerer interview.

 

 

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