Talking Lines

Overview

A collection of graphic narratives from one of the most influential and respected visual artists of the past half century

Talking Lines is the first-ever comprehensive collection of the work of R. O. Blechman, one of the most prolific and influential visual artists of the twentieth century. His graphic stories are at once jocular, wry, and profound. Blechman ruminates on such various topics as nuclear weapons, war, wiretapping, Christopher Columbus, Leo Tolstoy, William ...

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Overview

A collection of graphic narratives from one of the most influential and respected visual artists of the past half century

Talking Lines is the first-ever comprehensive collection of the work of R. O. Blechman, one of the most prolific and influential visual artists of the twentieth century. His graphic stories are at once jocular, wry, and profound. Blechman ruminates on such various topics as nuclear weapons, war, wiretapping, Christopher Columbus, Leo Tolstoy, William Shakespeare, and Virginia Woolf. His stories have appeared in the seminal magazine Humbug (edited by Harvey Kurtzman), The Nation, Nozone (edited by his son, Nicholas Blechman), The New York Times, and The New York Times Book Review.

Blechman is a modern master of all things visual whose timeless intellect and stripped-down artistry propels his nonstop relevancy. He is one of the few artists who has been able to balance the commercial and the artistic. In his polished and unparalleled career, he has been heralded as one of the great cartoonists, the author of one of the first modern graphic novels, an Emmy and Cannes Film Festival award-winning animator with a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, a Hall of Fame art director, and even a blogger for The Huffington Post.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“An immensely rich talent . . . His qualities of taste and intelligence, and—most vital—his instincts never to stray into forms that will betray him, have allowed Blechman to express himself in a variety of ways that have enhanced the quality of American life.” —MAURICE SENDAK

“I have always believed that humor—particularly political satire—is one of the most effective ways to make a point. And R. O. Blechman is a master of the form.” —ARIANNA HUFFINGTON

Publishers Weekly
Whether appearing in Harvey Kurtzman’s short-lived comic magazine Humbug in the late 1950s, or the New York Times Book Review in 2004, Blechman’s graphic stories are remarkably consistent. His simple yet sophisticated style is inimitable and instantly recognizable: jittery lines, barely sketched-out settings and deadpan sensibility. Blechman’s characters are frequently clueless sorts, hurling ridiculous actions into the winds of the time and being judged harshly for it by their creator. His sense of the satiric crops up frequently, and it is rarely applied with much subtlety. With the exception of “Contamination,” a longer piece from 1964 about the nuclear arms race, most of Blechman’s political work falls flat. His stories about famous literary figures range from the meaningful (Virginia Woolf as utterly dependent on her husband) to playfully absurd (Shakespeare as potential advertising copy writer). Though an uneven collection over all, the scale comes down in Blechman’s favor due to the inclusion of “Georgie,” which takes up the bulk of the book’s second half. A previously unpublished piece from 1992 about a man who loses just about everything in life but for his exceptional dog, it’s somehow wholly sentimental and yet astonishingly wise in its sprawling sadness. (Sept.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781897299852
  • Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
  • Publication date: 9/15/2009
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Born Oscar Robert Blechman in 1930, R. O. Blechman’s internationally acclaimed artwork spans decades, mediums, and industries. He is one of the first contemporary cartoonists to pen a full-length graphic novel, The Juggler of Our Lady, which he published in 1953 after graduating from Oberlin College. His illustrations and comics have graced magazines, anthologies, and newspapers. He has created more than a dozen New Yorker covers.

Blechman is also an animated filmmaker, and at one time he owned his own animation studio, The Ink Tank. He has been awarded the Gold Medal from the Cannes Film Festival and numerous Emmy Awards, and has been nominated for a BAFTA. In 2002, the Museum of Modern Art held a retrospective of his films titled “R. O. Blechman and The Ink Tank: A Celebration.”

Blechman is also a member of the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame, has been named Illustrator of the Year by Adweek, and is the creator of many notable advertising campaigns.

Blechman is married, has two sons, and lives in Ancram, New York.

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