Cartoonists are hot again, but not the guys who drew heroes like Dick Tracy and Superman. Instead, think Charles Schulz meets Samuel Beckett, in the world of Art Spiegelman and Robert Crumb. The protagonists in the new strips are paranoid, dysfunctional, isolated and angst-ridden. Their stories are so hip that Esquire Magazine for the first time included a graphic story in the annual fiction issue.
The new cartoonists don’t write for the teenage crowd, but for their own generation — the babyboomers and Generation Xer’s. Chris Ware, the creator of “Jimmy Corrigan” is known as the Emily Dickinson of comics. Daniel Clowes’s “Ghost World” reads more like “The Catcher in the Rye” than “Conan the Barbarian.” And Ben Katchor just won a MacArthur Genius Award for cartoons, which the MacArthur Foundation praised for its “ironic, compelling and bittersweet nostalgia.” The new, new comics, this hour on the Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)
Ben Katchor, Author
Daniel Clowes, Author
and Chas I. Kidd Assoc. Editorial Director, Pantheon ‘Comics’ division