Monday, April 12, 2010

A Brief Plug

Sorry I've had so little to say here recently. I do want to note that according to this post at BoingBoing, the cartoonists who contributed sketches to Craig Yoe's "Jetta" collection (devoted to Dan DeCarlo's obscure, pre-Jetsons futuristic sit-comic) include friend of this blog Jenny Lerew.

Yoe has been putting a lot of books together lately; you've probably already seen the plug for his most important recent project, "The Complete Milt Gross." (Not actually the complete Gross, but a complete collection from one era of his work.) But if you haven't, allow me to plug that here.

The first time I saw a Gross cartoon was, I think, a reprint in the "Big Book of Jewish Humor." It was a retelling of the story of Rumplestilskin (or as the title put it, "Ferry Tale from Romplesealskin for Nize Baby Wot Ate Opp All de Crembarry Suss"). The experience of seeing it for the first time wasn't quite as weird as a first encounter with Krazy Kat, because at least Gross's dialect was recognizably based on -- though exaggerated from -- actual speech patterns. But it was still strange and new; no cartoons I'd ever seen in newspapers or comic books were anything like it. And more than anything else in that book, it seemed like an introduction to a different era of Jewish humor, a complicated balancing act between self-mockery and even self-criticism (since the dialect represented the way of talking that his readers were trying to get away from, and perhaps in some cases resented in their own parents) and pride in the way Jewish and "goyish" culture could intersect.

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