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A lost, early classic of the graphic novel, now back in print for the first time since 1930.

William Gropper was one of the great American cartoonists and illustrators of the twentieth century. A student of George Bellows and Robert Henri, he was a prolific newspaper cartoonist, WPA muralist, Guggenheim Fellow, and committed political activist—the first visual artist called before the House Un-American Activities Committee, after which he was blacklisted (though he got revenge with his pen).

He was also a master of visual storytelling, best seen in his only full-length narrative work, Alay-Oop. First published in 1930, just as Gropper was coming to the height of his powers, this lost classic of the graphic novel presents an unusual love triangle: two circus acrobats and the honey-tongued schemer who comes between them. In page after page of charming, wordless art, Gropper takes us from the big top to bustling New York streets, from a cramped tenement apartment to the shifting landscape of a dream, as his characters struggle with the conflicting demands of career, family, and romance. A timeless and surprisingly modern yarn—with backflips aplenty.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781681373003
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication date: 06/25/2019
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

William Gropper (1897-1977) was born on the Lower East Side of New York City into a working-class Jewish family. While enrolled at the avant-garde Ferrer Modern School, he studied under the artists George Bellows and Robert Henri, and after high school attended the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts (now the Parsons School of Design) on a scholarship. Following graduation, Gropper became a staff cartoonist for Morning Freiheit, a Yiddish newspaper, where he worked for two decades. He also contributed work to left-wing periodicals such as The Rebel Worker, Daily Worker, and World, and founded the leftist magazine New Masses. In 1953, Senator Joseph McCarthy had Gropper blacklisted, as he believed Gropper's widely disseminated painting William Gropper's America was inspired by Communist ideas. In 1970, Gropper published The Shtetl, a series of color lithographs depicting Jewish village life. He died in Manhasset, New York.

James Sturm is a cartoonist and the author of The Golem's Mighty Swing, Market Day, and Off Season. He is also the cofounder of The Center for Cartoon Studies and Seattle’s alt newsweekly, The Stranger. His writings and illustrations have appeared in The Onion, The New York Times, the cover of The New Yorker, and in the pages of several children's books. He lives in Vermont.

Sammy Harkham is a cartoonist and the editor of the influential comics anthology Kramers Ergot. He lives in Los Angeles.

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