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Al Capp : A Life to the Contrary
by Michael Schumacher and Denis Kitchen


Overview -

More than thirty years have passed since Al Capp's death, and he may no longer be a household name. But at the height of his career, his groundbreaking comic strip, "Li'l Abner," reached ninety million readers. The strip ran for forty-three years, spawned two movies and a Broadway musical, and originated such expressions as "hogwash" and "double-whammy." Capp himself was a familiar personality on TV and radio; as a satirist, he was frequently compared to Mark Twain.  Read more...


 
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More About Al Capp by Michael Schumacher; Denis Kitchen
 
 
 
Overview

More than thirty years have passed since Al Capp's death, and he may no longer be a household name. But at the height of his career, his groundbreaking comic strip, "Li'l Abner," reached ninety million readers. The strip ran for forty-three years, spawned two movies and a Broadway musical, and originated such expressions as "hogwash" and "double-whammy." Capp himself was a familiar personality on TV and radio; as a satirist, he was frequently compared to Mark Twain.

Though "Li'l Abner" brought millions joy, the man behind the strip was a complicated and often unpleasant person. A childhood accident cost him a leg-leading him to art as a means of distinguishing himself. His apprenticeship with Ham Fisher, creator of "Joe Palooka," started a twenty-year feud that ended in Fisher's suicide. Capp enjoyed outsized publicity for a cartoonist, but his status abetted sexual misconduct and protected him from the severest repercussions. Late in life, his politics became extremely conservative; he counted Richard Nixon as a friend, and his gift for satire was redirected at targets like John Lennon, Joan Baez, and anti-war protesters on campuses across the country.

With unprecedented access to Capp's archives and a wealth of new material, Michael Schumacher and Denis Kitchen have written a probing biography. Capp's story is one of incredible highs and lows, of popularity and villainy, of success and failure-told here with authority and heart.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781608196234
  • ISBN-10: 1608196232
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Publish Date: February 2013
  • Page Count: 305
  • Dimensions: 9.49 x 6.45 x 1.14 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.41 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Artists, Architects, Photographers

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2012-11-26
  • Reviewer: Staff

Al Capp created one of the most successful comic strips of all time in Li'l Abner. The high school dropout was a "first-rate storyteller, comic strip artist, humorist,... occasional liar" who conned his way into art schools and saw Li'l Abner appear in print, on stage, and on the screen. The strip about the Kentucky hillbilly Yokum family was no lowbrow affair; Capp "mined the literary world" of authors like Charles Dickens, and parodied pop culture to the extent of drawing threats of legal action from the likes of Margaret Mitchell and Joan Baez. Biographer Schumacher (Dharma Lion: A Critical Biography of Allen Ginsberg) relies on Capp's letters to friends and enemies, his unpublished autobiography, and numerous media accounts in presenting Capp's successful artistic and business acumen without idolizing, as well as his personal shortcomings without condemning. Cartoonist Kitchen This book offers an insider's perspective on the clannish but competitive world of comic strip and book artists. The combination provides an engrossing look into the life of an American luminary as well as the evolution of an art form. Photos, illus. Agent, David Black. (Feb.)

 
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