Stop Forgetting to Remember: The Autobiography of Walter Kurtz

Peter Kuper, Author . Crown $19.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-307-33950-8

Unexpectedly, this quasi-autobiographical meditation on fantasy and reality succeeds in being as hilarious as it is heartbreaking. Like Kuper, his alter ego Kurtz is a cartoonist who divides his time between mainstream and independent work while also struggling to be a good husband, father and friend in an unsupportive world. He talks directly to the reader as he describes his goals when he was younger (getting laid, getting high, etc.), how he botched his chances or suffered when he did get what he wanted and how he accepted those successes and failures and then moved on. The story is typical, but Kuper's art shifts from realistic to surreal as the mood changes, and this is where the book really takes off. He plays with a comics reader's head, as when Kurtz's new-daddy desperation convinces him that he's not just a cartoonist but a cartoon so that he slips into a Crumb parody panel, “Keep on Parentin'.” Kurtz/Kuper does go on developing as a human being, through 9/11 and the despair of being a serious observer in Bush's America, into a surprisingly but satisfyingly hopeful conclusion. This is a very smart, mature work by an artist at the top of his form. (July)

Reviewed on: 05/21/2007
Release date: 07/01/2007
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