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Peter Kuper, Author, Gahan Wilson, Introduction by
Peter Kuper, Author, Gahan Wilson, Introduction by . Top Shelf $19.95 (111p) ISBN 978-1-891830-14-3
Reviewed on: 05/28/2001
Release date: 03/01/2001
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This retrospective volume collects the comics, illustrations, cover art and life story of Kuper, a prolific and politically aware comics artist and illustrator. He is best known for dynamic, multilayered stencil drawings and cover illustrations for Time, Newsweek, Mother Jones and the Nation. Although he earned acclaim in a decade in which autobiographical comics dominated the alternative comix scene, his sensibility clearly descends from the subject matter (politics, satire and adult themes) of the 1960s underground cartoonists. The book underscores Kuper's concerns about homelessness, censorship and the environment, as well as his sense of humor, eye for detail and a vividly graphic imagination, and suggest why his work is not only instantly recognizable but also highly marketable. In the story "Jungleland," for example, the images morph from an urban police scene into the window of an artist at work at his desk, into the paradisiacal jungle of his psyche and back again. The book also collects Kuper's various projects, including autobiographical comics, World War 3 (a periodical he cofounded that is devoted to political comics) and a selection of travel comics compiled from his many trips around the world. Best of all, the book presents work commissioned but never published, pieces that do double duty, exhibiting previously unseen art while commenting on the squeamishness of commercial publishers. Finally, there's a time line of Kuper's career (at four he decides to be an artist; at five an entomologist) that puts the collection into the context of a thoughtful and creative life in graphic arts. (June)

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