January 26, 2010
Back Into Forward, JULES FEIFFER’s (born 1929) forthcoming autobiography, will devote a great deal of close attention to the impossibly long-legged, stretched-out figures who populate his cartoons — and who, the author claims, “take the Robert Benchley hero and launch him into the age of Freud.” But I’ll be scarfing it down for the big picture, for Feiffer’s intersections and interstitials: taking over Will Eisner’s comic strip The Spirit as a prodigiously talented teen; his strip Sick Sick Sick (later, Feiffer) running for 42 years in the Village Voice, as that periodical went from cultural upstart to corporatized relic; Barbara Harris’ musical interpretation of his cartoon story “Passionella” (The Apple Tree); his amazing, high-spirited illustrations for The Phantom Tollbooth; and his celluloid collaborations with Robert Altman and Mike Nichols. When Greenwich Village was still cool, Feiffer was there. His work is redolent with the aroma of high-grade espresso wafting from a cafe open way too late.
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