In 1956, after being turned down by practically every publisher in the city, 27-year-old Jules Feiffer was desperate to see his adult-oriented comic strips in print. “Short of suicide or murder,” Feiffer says of those lean years, “I didn’t know what to do until the Voice came along.” Founded a year earlier with Norman Mailer’s cash, the weekly newspaper welcomed Feiffer’s unprecedented cartoon dramas about men and women struggling well past punch lines to grapple with the angst of this modern world: conformity or nonconformity, buying in or dropping out, romance or sex, bliss or depression? Fantagraphics has gathered those strips into a brick-size book titled Explainers: The Complete Village Voice Strips 1956–1966, revealing a cartoonist whose acidic dialogue is enhanced by lively pen strokes that nail bohos slouched around café tables or an obfuscating JFK with equal aplomb. Meet the artist tonight at this reading and signing.
Thu., May 15, 7 p.m., 2008