Masterful Marks: Cartoonists Who Changed the World

Edited by Monte Beauchamp. S&S, $25 (128p) ISBN 978-1-4516-4919-2
Giving top cartoonists a chance to draw biographical comics about their major influences is a bit of a no-brainer. Former Blab editor Monte Beauchamp tasked 16 cartoonists with the creation of graphic portraits of the medium’s biggest legends, from Superman’s Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster to the “father of manga,” Osama Tezuka. Sadly, the list of greats lacks women, reinforcing the erroneous idea that there weren’t any prominent female cartoonists active during the period covered. The artists’ approaches to biography are as diverse as the subject matter; their best work avoids straight biographical exposition. Marc Rosenthal’s Chas Addams strip cleverly imagines the macabre New Yorker cartoonist as ghost relating his own story from beyond the grave, while Peter Kuper’s Harvey Kurtzman portrait shows the author pitching the Mad cartoonist his own biography. The Crumb bio by Drew Friedman, meanwhile, is entirely autobiographical, beautifully rendering his interactions with the underground legend in his photorealistic caricature style. Thankfully, few opt to mimic the inimitable style of their heroes, which might have made this colorful traipse through conventional comics history awkward. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/09/2014
Release date: 09/02/2014
Genre: Comics
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