Out of Line: The Art of Jules Feif­fer

The finest wit and car­toon­ist you’ve prob­a­bly never heard of – Jules Feif­fer is a rel­a­tively un­her­alded comic art leg­end

ImagineFX - - Reviews -

to the UK’s detri­ment, there are few peo­ple over here who are fans of Jules Feif­fer, un­less they were lucky enough to stum­ble across his most fa­mous work: the il­lus­tra­tions for the chil­dren’s clas­sic novel The Phan­tom Toll­booth.

His so­phis­ti­cated mi­lieu, of mid20th-cen­tury New York, par­tic­u­larly his cel­e­brated work for The Vil­lage Voice, may not have any main­stream foothold on this side of the Pond. But any­one in­ter­ested in the history of comics should celebrate that Martha Fay’s book en­ables them to gain a holis­tic in­sight into his ca­reer in one fell swoop.

Jules started out af­ter WWII, pro­vid­ing bub­bles for 10-a-penny hero comic strips. Then he es­tab­lished his own snarky se­ries, Clifford, and went on to be val­ued for his hip metropoli­tan phi­los­o­phy, with a loose sketchy style and free­dom to present his thoughts how­ever he liked. So there’s a wide range of artis­tic gen­res on dis­play here, the very best ex­tracts from his archive re­pro­duced along­side Martha’s easy, per­son­able prose, packed with in­sight taken from the man him­self.

This fas­ci­nat­ing trea­sure trove strikes one sad note, the fore­word be­ing writ­ten by Mike Ni­chols (di­rec­tor of Jules-scripted film Car­nal Knowl­edge) be­fore his un­timely death. That aside, this is a hi­lar­i­ous col­lec­tion for hip cats.

One of the many draw­ing styles – this one be­ing cleaner than most – that Jules ex­per­i­mented with dur­ing his ca­reer.

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