This time around on the Virtual Memories Show, we talk to a couple of great cartoonists! First up, 2013 Eisner Award-winner Michael Kupperman, the cartoonist behind Tales Designed to Thrizzle, Snake & Bacon’s Cartoon Cabaret, and Mark Twain’s Autobiography: 1910-2010, talks about absurdism, cartooning as stress relief, how the UCB taught him to stop worrying and start performing his comics on stage, how he got the idea to mash up Quincy and Inception, and where the whole Mark Twain thing comes from. Conan O’Brien says he has “one of the best comedy brains on the planet.”
“A lot of artists dismiss what they’re working on because it’s not what they want to be working on, or because it could be better. Whatever you’ve been doing, THAT’S your work. It’s not the stuff you’ve been thinking about doing, or wanting to do, it’s what you actually produced.” — Ivan Brunetti
Then Ivan Brunetti joins us to talk about his new book, Aesthetics: A Memoir, as well as how he began teaching cartooning, what he learned from trying to win the art job on Nancy, how he wound up becoming a cover artist for the New Yorker, and how he managed to drag himself out of the self-loathing misanthropy captured in his early Schizo comics!
Previous comics- and cartooning-related episodes:
About our Guests
Michael Kupperman writes, “I’m a comic artist, illustrator, and writer who lives in New York City. I’m the author of three books of comics: Snake’N’Bacon’s Cartoon Cabaret, Tales Designed to Thrizzle Volume 1, and Tales Designed to Thrizzle Volume 2. I also wrote and illustrated the humorous book Mark Twain’s Autobiography 1910-2010. Some of my work has been translated into animation, and I sometimes perform, occasionally dressed as Mark Twain. I also enjoy reading my work in front of audiences. I also collect old books and magazines, and visit flea markets whenever possible.” So there’s that.
Ivan Brunetti is the critically acclaimed author of several volumes of comics and cartoons, as well as the highly praised Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice, which won a 2012 Eisner Award and was hailed by Publishers Weekly as an “enormously empowering” guide. He is a cover artist for the New Yorker, and his drawings have also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, McSweeney’s, and other publications. He has taught courses on editorial illustration and comics at the University of Chicago and Columbia College Chicago, and served as editor for Yale’s bestselling Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories.
Credits: This episode’s music is Good Advices by R.E.M. The conversation with Michael Kupperman was recorded in a Toronto hotel room on a pair of AT2020 mics feeding into a Zoom H4n recorder. The conversation with Ivan Brunetti was recorded in a Chicago hotel room with the same equipment. I recorded the intro and outro on a Samson Meteor into a MacBook Air using Audacity, in a room on the 42nd floor of the Royal Meridien in Shanghai. All editing and processing was done in Garage Band. Photo of Ivan Brunetti by me.