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Arf Museum Paperback – July 17, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics; 1 edition (July 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560977329
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560977322
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Having curated actual museum shows, cartoonist/designer Yoe turns to the print medium to exhibit little known cartoon art. Appropriately, the book opens with cartoons about fine art museums by Charles Addams, Chester Gould, Cliff Sterrett and others. Some of these works, like Frank King's, demonstrate links between cartooning and "high" art. Others, including an essay by Rube Goldberg, voice a populist disdain for modern art and art critics. In the wake of the King Kong remake, Yoe presents works pairing apes and women, running a gamut from horror to simple titillation, such as photos of Bettie Page with guys in literal monkey suits. A segment on tattooing includes an EC-style horror tale written, surprisingly, by Stan Lee. In the book's most extraordinary works, 19th-century cartoonist Charles Bennett transforms animals into humans through a succession of images that Yoe insightfully compares to CGI "morphing" effects. Other highlights are remarkable, previously unpublished color paintings by Richard Outcault of the Yellow Kid, American comics' first iconic character. The book concludes with an examination of Picasso's interest in the comics. Lavishly illustrated, this survey of the long history of pop art entertains with a succession of bold, unexpected images. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Yoe continues the exploration of "the unholy marriage of art and comics" that began in Modern Arf (2005). Among the cartoon artifacts he showcases here are 10 hitherto--unpublished early 1900s paintings of the Yellow Kid by newspaper-strip-pioneer Richard Felton Outcault, a selection of hell-themed pieces by socialist cartoonist Art Young, vintage girlie cartoons by forgotten magazine cartoonist Reamer Heller, ape-themed cartoons featuring King Kong and other simians, and wacky drawings of modernist sculpture as well as a snide assessment of modern art by Rube Goldberg. In the 22 pages preceding the title page, museumgoers Nancy and Sluggo, Gasoline Alley's Skeezix, Barney Google, and other comic-strip characters grapple with high culture. A selection of sequential drawings--comic strips, essentially--by Picasso leads into examples of cartoonists including Art Spiegelman lampooning cubism. The touring museum exhibition Masters of American Comics has recently drawn large crowds to see original art by Charles^B Schulz, R. Crumb, and other cartoonists, so consider Yoe's juxtapositioning of high and low another manifestation of the cultural zeitgeist. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Vice magazine calls Craig Yoe the "Indiana Jones of comics historians." Publishers Weekly says he's the "archivist of the ridiculous and sublime" and calls his work "brilliant." The Onion calls him "the celebrated designer." The Library Journal, "a comics guru." BoingBoing hails him "a fine cartoonist and a comic book historian of the first water." Yoe was Creative Director/Vice President/General Manager of Jim Henson's Muppets, and a Creative Director at Nickelodeon and Disney. Craig has won an Eisner Award and the Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Burd on June 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
Picking up where he left off in Modern Arf, Craig Yoe has once again assembled a surprising collection of material that pays off the tag line The Unholy Marriage of Art + Comics. And "surprising" is the right word for it, especially for a comics fan as jaded as me. I've been reading comics for more than 40 years and I've been an avid collector for nearly as long, so I thought I'd seen it all. Arf Museum surprises on nearly every page with comics I haven't seen before. Sometimes it's work by a cartoonist I don't know, such as the hellish scenarios of Art Young or the Darwinian evolutions of Charles Bennett. Other times it's work I haven't seen by cartoonists I know well. Who knew that Chester Gould did humor strips, or that Rube Goldberg was such a funny writer in addition to being a cartoonist, or that Mort Walker once met Roy Lichtenstein? I particularly liked the piece on Reamer Keller, a man whose work looks familiar but whose name I never knew. There's even a collection of never-before-published color paintings of the Yellow Kid, including the cover of the very first comic book. Talk about historical significance! Yoe balances this historical material with plenty of new work - including a funny four-page strip of his own - which puts everything in a contemporary context. In fact, Yoe keeps Arf up-to-the-minute with a blog that's updated on an almost daily basis. [...]

Two overall themes are present in this volume, tattoos and cubism. Cartoons about tattoos have been around a long time and they're even more relevant today. I guess there's nothing new under the sun. And it's fun to see how cartoonists of the time reacted to Picasso's revolutionary art, with plenty of gags involving both eyes on the same side of the nose.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another collection of fascinating comic art although there a few entries that could be better designated as illustrations. Much like a group exhibition at a gallery or museum, some of the works on display are so interesting that it's frustrating that there aren't more examples for that artist. Unfortunately there's no bibliography to assist in further "research" although I'm sure that some of the artists represented here are so obscure that there are no other published examples available! Great coffee table book for friends to leaf through. It's slightly adult (nudity and men's magazine humor) so be warned. This and the previous volume are great gifts for a real comic fan.
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By Tooned Up on January 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
I disagree with the above reviewer who finds so little of value here. I actually enjoyed the Lichtenstein story, and everything else in this edition (the Yellow Kid paintings are beautiful!) As for the content beings sexist, etc. we must remember that much of this stuff is from many years ago - some is even over a century old - and we can't expect everything to conform to our present-day politically correct attitudes. If you can temper your reactions with the knowledge that they reflect a time, and not any kind of editorial statement from the publisher, you'll have no problem appreciating this wonderful volume.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful By W. Wilson on October 9, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I sent this item back today in exchange for another book.

The problem is not in the printing quality; it's good. That should be worth at least a star. However, be warned - the colors you see in preview pages on the web are more intense than those in the printed book.

The excellent printing job, though, is much like an attempt to put a proverbial shine on a sneaker.

Once I opened the book, the problems began.

Let me preface what I'm about to write by stating that most of these cartoons were drawn during a time of general unenlightenment about women as anything other than sex objects. For example, on the inside front cover, we see a cartoon, a cartoon of a painting of a nude woman chastising a man for presumably leering at her. We see Bettie Page with a gorilla. We see a lot of sloppily drawn cartoons of nude women. One is by Picasso (the woman is shown farting). Are you chuckling yet? Many pages devoted to the "Yellow Kid" aren't likely to make this more fun, either.

Also, there are too many Cubist/Abstract Expressionist jokes all with the predictable punch line; it's obvious the illustrators were pandering to the general public's confusion and casual dismissing of modern art. The two-pager about Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein ripping off panel cartoonists is juvenile.

Finally, the point size of the body text is too small (for me, anyway) to read. I don't like having to squint b/c a layout artist has decided to be overly creative with the font.

I gave this 2 stars because there's a story called "Modern Art," written by Stan Lee, and it's fairly amusing. I'd rather have had more of the "strip"-type variety of comic in this book.

The Stan Lee story aside, and maybe a few other tidbits, I couldn't send this one back fast enough.
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