Out Of Line: The Art Of Jules Feiffer by Martha Fay (book review).

May 30, 2015 | By | Reply More

Back in the early 70s, I only learnt the name of Jules Feiffer from the 1964 book he compiled ‘The Great Comic Book Heroes’ and not so much about his own work. With Martha Fay’s ‘Out Of Line: The Art Of Jules Feiffer’ (1965), I can now rectify this and see what he does as a cartoonist as most of his work is centred in America. He’s also one of us. Very geeky.


He also scriptghosted for Will Eisner after World War 2 on ‘The Spirit’. Where Feiffer got into his own was after he was drafted into the army and then venting his spleen through his cartoons that he both wrote and drew. There are samples of everything he’s done, covering many pages and all readable and funny.

Looking at Feiffer’s work and Martha Fay’s biography, it appears that his material only appeared in ‘The Observer’ and one book in the UK, so easy to see how his work got overlooked over here.

Feiffer’s art evokes emotion that is required for satire cartoonists where the text is meant to be read. He also tried different styles as well and can be seen here as well. I suspect some of the political cartoons will be beyond any of you who weren’t around in the 60s but they do display some insight that I didn’t see over here.

Like a lot of creative types, Feiffer went through spells of feeling stale and explored other avenues. This included writing several successful plays and even some films, most notably for director Mike Nichols. Like his other material, I can’t recall much of it being shown in the UK. Well, other than ‘Popeye’ (1980) but director Robert Altman went in his own direction with that one.

There are some odd gaps. Feiffer worked for free for the ‘Village Voice’ for over forty years but towards the end Fay points out he was getting a considerable fee but not when that happened.

Considering the hard time Feiffer had in building up his career, when he got on a roll he won many awards, including a Pulitzer Prize.

Although this book is only border-line to our remit, it is significant because Feiffer spent time Will Eisner who valued him more for his scripting than artistic skills. Even so, these skills made him a name in America and ultimately, a fascinating book about his life.

GF Willmetts

May 2015

(pub: Abrams Books. 272 page illustrated indexed large horizotal hardback. Price: £25.00 (UK), $40.00 (US), $48.00 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-4197-0066-8)

check out website: www.abramsbook.co.uk

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Category: Books, Illustration

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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