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An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, & True Stories

Ivan Brunetti, editor
Yale University Press
400 pages, $28
ISBN: 0300111703

There are really two different reviews that need to be written for this handsome, well-presented hardcover: one for newcomers to the new breed of comics, and one for those who already know their way around.

Let's go with the newcomers first: If you're looking for a good survey of what comics have been up to for the last thirty years or so, Ivan Brunetti's anthology is your one-stop shopping choice. Not only does it contain most of the high points in terms of short stories and strips, but also a good sampling of some of the earlier strip-oriented stories that served as influences on today's generation of art-comics cartoonists. Given that a survey of the modern graphic novel is essential to an understanding of where North American cartooning is turning, it's also worth noting how Brunetti manages to excerpt many of the top books with selections that are self-contained enough to work as short stories on their own. Buy this book now.

For more experienced devotees of the modern comics, the choice is a little less clear-cut: It really depends upon how much of this work you already own, and whether or not you want it all under a single cover. Alas, the book's "table of contents" is no help whatsoever, given that Brunetti chooses to run a series of iconic drawings and page numbers instead of, you know, actually telling you what the book contains. Fortunately for you, dear reader, I've gone ahead and created the table of contents that Ivan declined to produce. Do you need to own a copy of this book? Read on and decide...

EndpapersDecorative excerpt from The ACME Novelty Library,
Chris Ware
3"Supernatural Hot Rug and Not Used,"
Marc Bell
6"An Illustrated Table of Contents,"
Jeremy Onsmith
Ivan Brunetti
11"Life is So Full of Whimsical Little Nuances,"
Sam Henderson
12"Jobs o' Fun,"
Mark Newgarden
13"We All Die Alone,"
Mark Newgarden
14"Love's Savage Fury,"
Mark Newgarden
18Twelve Underworld strips,
24Six Maakies strips,
Tony Millionaire
27Two Griffith Observatory strips,
Bill Griffith
29Three color Zippy strips,
Bill Griffith
30"The Boy Who Loved Comics" (color),
David Mazzucchelli
32"Abstract Thought is a Warm Puppy" (color),
Art Spiegelman
35"Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy..." (color),
Chris Ware
36"Good Grief!" (two-color),
37"Developing a Comic Strip" (essay)
Charles M. Schulz
40"Good Ol' Gregor Brown,"
R. Sikoryak
42Five Barnaby strips,
Crockett Johnson
43Eighteen Sketchbook Diaries strips,
James Kochalka
46Three Ernie Pook's Comeek strips,
Lynda Barry
49"Smell" (color),
Lynda Barry
52Excerpt from Boys,
Joan Reidy and Ron Regé, Jr.
57Color Krazy Kat Sunday strip,
George Herriman
58Color Dot and Dash/Polly and Her Pals Sunday strip,
Cliff Sterrett
59Color Gasoline Alley Sunday strip,
Frank King
60Color Ambassador Sunday strip,
Otto Soglow
61Color Kin-der Kids Sunday strip,
Lyonel Feininger
62Four-page foldout illustration from The Adventures of the Vivian Girls, plus uncredited introductory essay from Raw Vol. 2, No. 2 (color),
Henry Darger
64"Terror From the Grave,"
Rory Hayes
65"Of What Use is a Bunch?",
Aline Kominsky-Crumb
68Excerpt from Agony,
Mark Beyer
Mat Brinkman
77"Frank's Fish" (color)
Jim Woodring
80Excerpt from "Oedipus Junior,"
Peter Bagge
84Excerpt from The King of Persia,
Walt Holcombe
86"Shakyamuni" (color),
Ivan Brunetti
87"Untitled" (color)
Ivan Brunetti
Richard McGuire
94The Record Changer, June 1947 cover (color),
Gene Deitch
95Hey Look! strip (color)
Harvey Kurtzman
96"Night Delivery" (color),
Richard Sala
97"Gloom" (color),
Richard Sala
98"One of the Wonders of the World" (color)
Richard Sala
100Four Sof' Boy strips (color)
Archer Prewitt
Wayne White
107"Snoot Grolo,"
J. Bradley Johnson
110Excerpt from Jimbo in Purgatory,
Gary Panter
118Excerpt from Curse of the Molemen,
Charles Burns
126"Young Ledicker,"
Kim Deitch
136"Troubles with Gassel,"
Terry Zwigoff and Robert Armstrong
138Excerpt from Jack Survives,
Jerry Moriarty
141Excerpt from Cheap Novelties,
Ben Katchor
149Excerpt from Maus,
Art Spiegelman
162Excerpt from Berlin,
Jason Lutes
166Excerpt from The Golem's Mighty Swing (two-color),
James Sturm
171Excerpt from Passionate Journey,
Frans Masereel
173Excerpt from "Somersaulting" (three-color)
Sammy Harkham
176Excerpt from "Hawaiian Getaway,"
Adrian Tomine
184"A Little Story,"
Gilbert Hernandez
190"Flies on the Ceiling,"
Jaime Hernandez
205Excerpt from Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary,
Justin Green
215"Fun Things to Do With Little Girls,"
Phoebe Gloeckner
218"Visitors in the Night,"
Debbie Drechsler
224Excerpt from I Never Liked You,
Chester Brown
233Excerpt from The Poor Bastard,
Joe Matt
242Excerpt from It's a Good Life if You Don't Weaken (two-color),
256Excerpt from My New York Diary,
Julie Doucet
264Excerpt from Clumsy,
Jeffrey Brown
268Excerpts from King-Cat #63
John Porcellino
272"A Paragraph by Saul Bellow (1915-2005),"
John Hankiewicz
Jonathan Bennett
276"Northern California" (color)
David Heatley
279"Cecil and Jordan in New York" (color)
Gabrielle Bell
283Excerpt from "The Sunset,"
Kevin Huizenga
286"Black Cherry,"
Michael Dougan
289"The Tub" (color)
Lauren R. Weinstein
292"Gone" (color)
Carol Tyler
299"A Short History of America,"
R. Crumb
303"Uncle Bob's Mid-Life Crisis,"
R. Crumb
311"Jelly Roll Morton's Voodoo Curse,"
R. Crumb
317"Where Has It Gone, All the Beautiful Music of Our Grandparents?",
R. Crumb
322"Lunch With Carmella,"
Harvey Pekar and R. Crumb
326"Hypothetical Quandry,"
Harvey Pekar and R. Crumb
329Excerpt from Soba,
Joe Sacco
337"The Ethel Catherwood Story,"
David Collier
351"Scott Joplin" (color),
Chris Ware
352Excerpt from Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth (color),
Chris Ware
364"Thrilling Adventure Stories" (color),
Chris Ware
370Excerpt from Building Stories (color),
Chris Ware
373"A Feeling" (color),
Chris Ware
374"An Idea" (color),
Chris Ware
Daniel Clowes
397Excerpt from "The Fallen World of Daniel Clowes,"
Daniel Raeburn
398"190 Dublin Street" (two-color),
399Contributors' Biographies


This essay appeared on the then-website of The Comics Journal sometime between 2006 and 2008.


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