Friday, January 26, 2007

Happy Birthday, Julie!

On this date back in 1929, one of my favorite artists, Jules Feiffer, was born. Feiffer had a long-running and, as you can see in the above example, often timeless and prescient strip in the Village Voice called, appropriately enough, Feiffer. It ran for 42 years and won him a Pulitzer prize (then the ageist bastards at the Voice fired him cuz they thought he was too old, but we'll avoid discussing anything unpleasant on his birthday. )

In addition to his cartooning -- which was good enough to get him into the comic book hall of fame, he's also a screenwriter (Carnal Knowledge) playwright (Little Murders) illustrator (The Phantom Tollbooth) and he also has an Oscar to go next to that Pulitzer. And even though Will Eisner usually gets credit for the first graphic novel, I think you can make the case that that distinction belongs to Feiffer for his excellent book Tantrum. (Even though Eisner's A Contract With God was published in 1978 and Tantrum in 1979, A Contract With God is not a novel, I don't care the comic historians say, it's a collection of inter-related short stories.)
Tantrum is about a man who's tired of being a husband, tired of being a father, tired of being a man, who wills himself through a terrific tantrum to regress back to a two-year-old, and what happens after that, which is hilarious and heartbreaking and always thought-provoking.
Since the Voice silenced him, Feiffer has been busy doing childrens' books like The Man in the Ceiling and A Room With a Zoo, all of which I also highly recommend.
Happy 78th, Jules Feiffer, and many more!

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