Before there was Robert Crumb, there was Herbert Crowley. If you don't recognize that name, you're not alone. Crowley is one of nearly 30 American cartoonists featured in this eclectic anthology, artists whose work-created between 1900 and 1969-was overshadowed by more successful contemporaries. Art Out of Time at last gives these pioneers the showcase they deserve, reprinting-in most cases for the first time since their initial publication-complete comic books and strips by such visionaries as Raymond Ewer, ...
Before there was Robert Crumb, there was Herbert Crowley. If you don't recognize that name, you're not alone. Crowley is one of nearly 30 American cartoonists featured in this eclectic anthology, artists whose work-created between 1900 and 1969-was overshadowed by more successful contemporaries. Art Out of Time at last gives these pioneers the showcase they deserve, reprinting-in most cases for the first time since their initial publication-complete comic books and strips by such visionaries as Raymond Ewer, Howard Nostrand, Ogden Whitney, and Dick Briefer. These under-recognized artists often deviated from the thematic and graphic conventions of the comics medium-and influenced Crumb, Art Spiegelman, and others-making this superb anthology a true "counter history," the untold story of an underground that wasn't.
There are lots of anthologies of the work of the past century's famous cartoonists, but Nadel has done a real service in putting together this collection of 29 marvelous nearly unknown comic strip and comic book artists. Many are reprinted from yellowing newsprint-in a few cases, like Walter Quermann's late-'30s newspaper strip Hickory Hollow Folks, from the only copies of their work still extant. Only a few, like Ogden Whitney's poker-faced '60s comic book Herbie, have ever been reprinted before. Nadel's five categories, "Exercises in Exploration," "Slapstick," "Acts of Drawing," "Words in Pictures" and "Form and Style," sometimes seem arbitrary; the biographical notes at the back are informative but all too brief. Still, it's hard to argue with the comics themselves. Charles Forbell's 1913 newspaper strip Naughty Pete looks like it had a huge influence on Chris Ware; Gustave Verbeek's bonkers formal experiment The Upside-Downs of Little Lady Lovekins and Old Man Muffaroo, from 1904, is still hilarious and sui generis; Rory Hayes's crude but meticulous horror stories from 1969's Bogeyman Comics, the most recent pieces here, were decades ahead of their time. Contemporary cartoonists-and their fans-have a lot to learn from the freewheeling, witty, try-anything-twice artistic attitude of the pieces Nadel's assembled. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Nadel has here done comics historians a great service by collecting together examples of work from 29 little-known and under-appreciated cartoonists with "eccentric" styles and ideas, from Gustave Verbeek's amazing 1904 strip The Upside-Downs (in which the same panels are read first right-side-up and then upside-down) to the primitive, 1969 alternative pioneer Rory Hayes's Boogeyman Comics. Highlights include Harry Grant Dart's The Explorigator, a 1908 adventure strip in the vein of Little Nemo in Slumberland; Ogden Whitney's 1960s comic book Herbie, about a portly boy who gains super-powers from magical lollipops; and George Carlson's nonsensical and wonderful Jingle Jangle Tales (also championed by writer Harlan Ellison). Also included are examples of Herbert Crowley's strange and fascinating 1910 strip The Wiggle Much and Walter Quermann's rare and charming Hickory Hollow Folks. Nadel arranges the entries nonchronologically by theme or artistic emphasis and appends a short biography and appreciation of each cartoonist at the book's end. The print is unfortunately quite tiny in some sections, but almost everything here has a quirky but undeniable appeal. This treasure-trove is recommended for every library.-S.R. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Dan Nadel is the author of Art Out of Time and the editor of several books, including Gary Panter and The Wilco Book. He is the owner of PictureBox, Inc., a Grammy Award –winning packaging and publishing company with more than fifty titles in print, and the co-editor of the Eisner-nominated magazine Comics Comics. His essays and criticism have appeared in many publications, including the Washington Post, Bookforum, and Eye. As a curator, Nadel has mounted exhibitions for Portugal Arte 10 in Lisbon, the Athens 2007 Biennale in Greece, and numerous other venues in New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Paris. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.