Reading the comics

The front cover of Ivan Brunetti’s 2006 An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, & True Stories:


So many kinds of comics to read, so many kinds of readers.

The main image looks like a New Yorker cover with a gentle send-up of current interest in comics and, especially, graphic novels. It’s the work of the cartoonist who goes by the pseudonym Seth.

From Wikipedia:

Seth is the pen name of Gregory Gallant (born September 16, 1962), a Canadian cartoonist best known for his series Palookaville and his mock-autobiographical graphic novel It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken (1996).

Seth’s cartoons in a style influenced by the classic cartoonists of The New Yorker. His work is highly nostalgic, especially for the early-to-mid-20th Century period, and of Southern Ontario. His work also shows a great depth and breadth of knowledge of the history of comics and cartooning.

An issue of Palookaville:


And the cover of It’s a Good Life:


Last year, Seth’s enthusiasm for the style was crowned by his doing a cover for the magazine:


From the New Yorker blog, “Cover Story: Seth’s “Virtual Music”” by Mina Kaneko and Françoise Mouly:

“My dream world, the world I want to inhabit, is that of the old New Yorker cartoons,” Seth, the artist behind this week’s cover, “Virtual Music,” says. Seth (a pen name for Gregory Gallant, a Canadian cartoonist who lives in [Guelph], Ontario), is enamored of the New Yorker greats: Peter Arno, Charles Addams, Garrett Price, Perry Barlow, Helen Hokinson, Rea Irvin, Syd Hoff, William Steig, Mary Petty, and James Thurber are his idols. In “It’s a Good Life if You Don’t Weaken,” published in 2003, Seth “sought out the work of one of The New Yorker’s most obscure cartoonists, Kalo.” Readers in the know will soon realize that Kalo is a figment of Seth’s imagination, but no one will doubt that his love of old New Yorker cartoons is real.

“I grew up with comic books and newspaper funnies — Jack Kirby and Charles Schulz — but when I saw the big, wondrous, and iconic New Yorker cartoon collections of the midcentury, it was like discovering gold,” he says. “It was Arno who drew my eye like no other. Arno’s work oozed big-city sophistication, and, for a boy like myself, who’d grown up in the hayseed boondocks, this added an extra lustre to the cartoons.  I think I was already wearing a suit and tie and a fedora — but his work cemented that fashion choice for me…. I studied Arno with the devotion of a convert: those bold masterly brush strokes; those unbelievably solid compositions; that feeling of reckless spontaneity — but also of utter control in the midst of it.  There’s a freedom in his finished work that I wish I could have absorbed. There is a sensuous appeal to his drawing that defies description.”

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