I'd never heard of Doug Wright or Nipper before I received this comic strip anthology published by Drawn & Quarterly. It's about the day-to-day events of a suburban family: husband, wife, and two small boys (one named Nipper). I read it a couple of nights ago with my daughter and we laughed quite a few times. (When I say "read," I mean I studied the panels, because the comic strips are wordless.)
There are a lot of things to like about these comic strips, which appeared in newspapers across Canada in the mid-20th century. First, Wright's artwork is charming. The facial expressions of the people are subtle and often essential to understanding the joke of each comic strip. Wright's balance between detail and economy reminds me of Hank Ketcham's, but with less forcefulness. Wright doesn't overtly tell you what to look at. Instead, he invites you to soak in the scene and absorb the different things going on in each panel.
Second, Wright's depiction of children is the best I've seen in a comic. They way the siblings behaves rings true: the taunting, tormenting, fighting, playing, thoughtlessness, selfishness, fear, and joy. These are real kids, as opposed to the pint-sized adults of the Peanuts universe (as Art Spiegelman once pointed out, the only kid in Peanuts is Snoopy). Their antics (as well as their parents' antics) are timeless.
Third, the way these wordless stories are told is like nothing I've seen in a comic strip before. The apparent simplicity of the strips is deceptive. Often, it's not clear what is going at the beginning of a strip. But as the story unfolds, the meaning is revealed. It's very lifelike. These aren't gags; they're slices of life.
Nipper: Classic Comics from 1963-64
See two example strips after the jump.
It’s been a bumper year for documentary evidence of the lost, weird history of MAD Magazine: first there was the gorgeous hardcover that uncovered the two-issue, unlimited-budget Trump Magazine (created by MAD’s founding editor Harvey Kurtzman after a falling out with publisher William Gaines, Jr, operating with a bankroll provided by Hugh “Playboy” Hefner); now there’s Behaving Madly, which assembles a timeline of the short-lived, incredibly proliferated MAD rip-offs that popped up as Kurtzman and his successor proved that there was big bucks to be found in satire.
Ralph Steadman, 81, is best known as the genius social and political cartoonist who famously illustrated Hunter S. Thompson’s depraved adventures in Las Vegas, on the campaign trail in 1972, and at the Kentucky Derby. Juxtapoz’s Gabe Scott interviewed the “crucial comic” about the insanity of today, his friendship with Hunter, and “let(ting) the paper […]
I love Michael Sweater’s collection of 60 darlingly ironic and awful comics. It feels like each comic perfectly captures the frustration and fultility of today. Please Destroy My Enemies by Michael Sweater via Amazon
The Pry.Me Bottle Opener holds tens of thousands of times its own weight, and you can pick one up now from the Boing Boing Store.This remarkable keychain is considerably smaller than any of your keys, but don’t let that fool you: it can easily open any bottle, and could even tow a trailer full of […]
Guaranteeing your privacy online goes way beyond checking the “Do Not Track” option in your browser’s settings. To ensure that your internet activity is totally hidden from Internet Service Providers, advertisers, and other prying eyes, take a look at Windscribe’s VPN protection. It usually costs $7.50 per month, but you can get a 3-year subscription […]
This project management bundle will help you get organized and learn how to lead a team to success. You can pay what you want for these five courses when you pick them up from the Boing Boing Store.To help you become an invaluable asset for your company, this bundle includes a curated collection of professional […]