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Jules Feiffer complete collection cometh

Feiffer Explainers

Fantagraphics will release a complete collection of the first decade of cartoons by Jules Feiffer, the former Village Voice cartoonist. The book is entitled “Feiffer’s Explainers: The Complete Village Voice Strips 1956-66” and contains his comic strip, Sick, Sick, Sick which was retitled “Feiffer” in 1959.

The book comes out May 28, but if you’re in Manhattan on May 15, you can go to the Strand bookstore where Jules will read from the strips, sign books and participate in a Q&A.

“When I started the strip in the 1950s,” Feiffer recounted in an interview with PWCW, “I never tried to make it like anything else.” He continued, “Cartooning was my form, so I put conversation on paper, and nobody had bothered to do that before. And as this was the ’50s, I made a point of using humor, being funny, to get away with what I was saying.” Readers quickly related to the fallible humanity of Feiffer’s characters, a nervous-looking bunch of neurotics who functioned in stark but humorous contrast to their cartoon brethren in syndicated comics strips like Peanuts or Family Circus.

Plus, Feiffer explained, in those years psychoanalysis was beginning to attract a following. “A certain group of young people were bitten by the Freudian bug, and the strip was the only place they found themselves represented in those days,” he said. Compared to contemporaneous cartoon works, Feiffer appeared visually sparse, often possessing no backgrounds or settings for the characters to interact in, lacking even that most fundamental element of the visual structure of comics, the simple panel border and gutter. However, there was method fueling Feiffer’s creative decision: “The panelless format came about from struggling to find an approach to best tell the story to the reader and get them from panel one to panel six, and ended up as an exercise in self-effacement. Modestly, self-deprecatingly getting away with it.”

Community Comments

#1 josh shalek
@ 10:51 am

Perfect title for the collection. Fantagraphics furthers their noble goal of making every comic strip ever available in bound form.

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