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He Done Her Wrong Paperback – March 8, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. With a unique blend of high-velocity drawing and unabashed love of language, Gross remains one of the great cartoonists of the 20th century. One of his masterpieces was the innovative 1930 wordless graphic novel, He Done Her Wrong. Conceived in response to the wave of wordless picture story books such as Lynd Ward's God's Man, Gross blended elements from dime novels, the high drama of Ward's work and, of course, his own background in the Yiddish humor tradition to create a lengthy work of cartoon genius. It follows a typical story arc: lumberjack hero and dainty damsel fall in love until the slightly dim hero is tricked by the rascally villain, who succeeds in separating the lovers for much of the book. Eventually, the hero and his love are reunited and the villain defeated, but Gross takes the action from woods to city to cliffs and mansions and back again, never forgetting to make the whole thing extremely funny and suspenseful. Fantagraphics has produced a perfect facsimile edition of the original book, complete with an excellent essay by Paul Karasik. He Done Her Wrong should be on every graphic novel devotee's shelf and is, in fact, as Gross's original subtitle cheekily suggests, an honest-to-goodness great American novel. (Mar.)
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From Booklist

For the first time since its 1930 debut, humorist-cartoonist Gross' magnum opus appears complete under its original title (a brief gag once construed as racist is restored here and proves inoffensive by today's standards). It's a wordless graphic novel that responds to highly serious immediate forebears by Frans Masereel and Lynd Ward with baggy-pants high jinks out of silent-film comedy. It's the story of a young man from out of the wilderness, coonskin cap and all, who falls in love with a fair maiden. Of course, he loses her to a treacherous villain, but finds her again in the big city. She misunderstands, though, and . . . well, it all ends happily and hilariously. It's sunny and funny beforehand, too, thanks to Gross' protean imagination, enormously energetic line, and lightning shifts from visual simplicity to complexity. This edition's introduction and appended appreciation by comics artists Craig Yoe and Paul Karasik, respectively, convincingly tout Gross' talent and influence and pique interest in his verbal achievements as creator of a sublime Yiddish-English comic patois. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (March 8, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560976942
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560976943
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,419,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mike Fontanelli on February 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
I'm not sure what Milt Gross would have made of contemporary critics and their claim that he was the father of the modern graphic novel. I'm guessing his reaction would have been akin to A HARD DAY'S NIGHT director Richard Lester's famous reply to MTV. (When the music network hailed him as the 'Father of Music Videos', Lester responded by insisting on a blood test!)

One of the great American humorists of the 20th Century, Gross was a brilliant New York-based newspaper cartoonist whose creations included DAVE'S DELICATESSEN, BANANA OIL, THAT'S MY POP, PETE THE POOCH, OTTO AND BLOTTO, COUNT SCREWLOOSE FROM TOOLOOSE, and GROSS EXAGGERATIONS - classics, all. His original, wildly cartoony drawing style and hilarious "Yinglish" dialogue, still funny after three quarters of a century, held not a hint of modern-day pretentiousness. Comparing him to Frank Miller and Art Spiegelman can only demean him. (Sorry, fanboys!)

HE DONE HER WRONG is a bona fide classic, like all Gross' books - and one that seems impervious to time, since it was deliberately anachronistic from the git-go. Originally a burlesque of Lynd Ward's wordless woodcut novels of the 1920s, that point of reference is lost on modern readers because, like Lewis Carroll's song parodies, the spoof has become more famous than the original! A felicitous turn of events.

This book was notoriously censored (and re-titled HEARTS OF GOLD) when it was reissued in 1983, further indication - as if we needed any more - of America's contempt for its own cultural legacy. Luckily, the wise folks at Fantagraphics will publish the restored, uncut version - rather than dignify all the self-appointed P.C. Thought Police out there. (You KNOW who you are!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on December 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
The publisher here has given us a pretty good overview of this work in their synopsis and our one reviewer has given us a wonderful history of this great good. I will refrain from doing a book report here. I will say though, that this is one of the most delightful works I have had the pleasure of reading over the years. I first encountered this work in the early 1960s and have off and on over the years read it again and again. As the author so well puts it "The Great American Novel Told Without Words." Ths illustrations are of course pure Gross and there is humor in every frame, from the first to the last. This is certainly a work that proves that a picture is worth a thousand word, although in this case, the pictures cover many more words than the saying goes. I am delighted to see that this one is in print again and hopefully some of the author's other work will be also reprinted soon. We will be much richer for it. I highly recommend this one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael Steinberg on January 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
Everything the publisher says about "He done her wrong" is true, though it omits Goss's own description: "The Great American Novel. And not a word in it--no music, too."

All I can hope is that someone will start reprinting Gross's words, too. He was as adept at dialect humor as he was at cartooning and was a famous man in his day--my father still recalls the opening of "Hiawatta wit no odder pomes". Search the used book shelves for the non-adventures of his Lower East Side narrators in books like "Nize baby" and "Dunt Esk!"--they're guaranteed to make you like the Keeng in "Nize Baby's" version of Romplesealskin: "extrimmingly jubilious, wot he robbed gliffully de hends."
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