George Sprott: (1894-1975)

( 1 )

Overview

First serialized in The New York Times Magazine “Funny Pages”

The celebrated cartoonist and New Yorker illustrator Seth weaves the fictional tale of George Sprott, the host of a long-running television program. The events forming the patchwork of George’s life are pieced together from the tenuous memories of several informants, who often have contradictory impressions. His estranged daughter describes the man as an unforgivable lout, whereas his niece remembers him fondly. His ...

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Overview

First serialized in The New York Times Magazine “Funny Pages”

The celebrated cartoonist and New Yorker illustrator Seth weaves the fictional tale of George Sprott, the host of a long-running television program. The events forming the patchwork of George’s life are pieced together from the tenuous memories of several informants, who often have contradictory impressions. His estranged daughter describes the man as an unforgivable lout, whereas his niece remembers him fondly. His former assistant recalls a trip to the Arctic during which George abandoned him for two months, while George himself remembers that trip as the time he began writing letters to a former love, from whom he never received replies.

Invoking a sense of both memory and its loss, George Sprott is heavy with the charming, melancholic nostalgia that distinguishes Seth’s work. Characters lamenting societal progression in general share the pages with images of antiquated objects—proof of events and individuals rarely documented and barely remembered. Likewise, George’s own opinions are embedded with regret and a sense of the injustice of aging in this bleak reminder of the inevitable slipping away of lives, along with the fading culture of their days.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for Seth:

“[Seth] is exceptionally gifted at evoking the passing of time and the stasis of space.” —The Washington Post

Library Journal
Seth offers readers packed pages, with stamp-like panels that flow in tin-solider regimentation across the page—a regimentation that is often interrupted with inserts and full-page single images that evoke the same interest in composition that so occupies Ware. The two artists also share a melancholy tone and a focus on the way memories are constructed. Seth’s sepia-infused color palette of greens, blues, and reds is more muted than Ware’s but no less captivating. He has a number of notable works, including Wimbledon Green, but consider suggesting this story of Canadian TV host George Sprott. In the hours surrounding Sprott’s death, a narrator lays out his life, mixing his history and relationships with interviews conducted after his passing. These are often marked by different colors and within their own smaller universe of panels so that they create a sense of an aside. What emerges is a man who is viewed in different ways by different people, forcing readers to piece him together in a way that is reminiscent of the woman at the heart of Ware’s story. Readers should also be pointed to the work of Jon McNaught for titles with similar visual resonances to Ware’s.

(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Douglas Wolk
…approaches its subject from dozens of angles, from "interviews" with his intimates to immense, silent drawings of ice floes, all rendered in the painstakingly simple, bold brush strokes of midcentury illustration—a style of which Seth is the chief contemporary caretaker. As with most of his work, it's a memorial to a lost age of localism and craft, even as it's painfully alert to the dangerous allure of nostalgia.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

First serialized in the New York Times Magazine, this exquisite extended version of the life of fictional Canadian TV personality George Sprott only adds to Seth's place as one of the form's masters. In the hours and moments before Sprott's death in 1975, the omniscient-and nameless-narrator flashes both backward to key moments in the TV man's life and forward to interviews conducted after Sprott's passing. After spending four years in seminary school, Sprott sets out to be, as he dubs himself, a "gentleman adventurer," taking numerous trips to the Canadian Arctic and filming his exploits. After he lands his own television program, Northern Hi-Lights, in the '50s, Sprott spends the next 20-plus years (1,132 episodes) telling and retelling stories of his adventures with the Inuits. Along the way, we meet his long-suffering wife, Helen; employees of the Radio Hotel (where Sprott lived for the last 10 years of his life); and members of the Coronet Club (where he delivered regular and increasingly boring lectures). Musings by the man himself-on everything from modern life to food to loneliness-help to round out this portrait of a man who never seemed truly satisfied but somehow made do. Seth (Palookaville) manages to make what is essentially the story of one man's slow death into an often humorous rumination on the power of media, memory and loss. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781897299517
  • Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
  • Publication date: 5/26/2009
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 14.32 (w) x 12.14 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Seth is the cartoonist of Clyde Fans; It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken; Wimbledon Green; Bannock, Beans, and Black Tea; and Vernacular Drawings; the designer of the New York Times bestselling Peanuts collections; and a New Yorker illustrator. He lives in Guelph, Ontario.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Hit home to me, an old retired guy. Magnetic in its truth about

    Hit home to me, an old retired guy. Magnetic in its truth about the personal hell of life.

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