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Howl: A Graphic Novel Paperback – August 31, 2010


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Howl: A Graphic Novel + The Portable Beat Reader (Penguin Classics) + On the Road
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition (August 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780062015174
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062015174
  • ASIN: 0062015176
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #253,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A swirling, ever-changing universe, expand an often painfully personal poem about (among other things) one man's unrequited love into a visual metaphor for the alienation of an entire generation." 
Newsweek


"Drooker's 'Howl' illustrations tend to feature elongated figures and sweeping, richly colored landscapes--making up a fantastical world that reflects the text." 
The Wall Street Journal


"The most creative part of the movie is Eric Drooker's melodramatic drawings (fully animated)...lunging through the skyscrapers and alleys of modern experience."
- David Denby, The New Yorker

From the Author

Introduction by Eric Drooker
First time I hung with Allen Ginsberg, one long hot summer night in 1988, the streets were hopping mad. Riot cops on horseback were slowly moving in our direction, enforcing a midnight curfew, but the chanting crowd refused to leave Tompkins Square Park--a refuge for punks, homeless, squatters, artists and other riffraff who'd been "keeping real estate prices down" on Manhattan's Lower East Side. When the police charged, swinging clubs, we lost each other in the crowd. 
     When I bumped into Allen a year later, and he realized that I was the artist who'd created so many of the street posters in the neighborhood, he admitted that he'd been peeling them off brick walls and lampposts, and collecting them at home. He suggested we do a poster together. Over time, we collaborated on numerous projects, bouncing his words off my pictures. 
     Our book, Illuminated Poems, became an underground classic, and ultimately caught the attention of filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. They were just starting to direct a feature film about Allen's early poem "Howl" and it's historical significance--with Hollywood actors playing Ginsberg and his friends, Jack Kerouac and Neil Cassady. When they approached me with the ingenious idea of animating "Howl," I thought they were nuts and said "sure, let's animate Dante's Inferno while we're at it!" Then they told me I'd work with a team of studio animators who would bring my pictures to life . . . how could I say no? 
     Last time I hung with Allen Ginsberg was on a cold winter night three months before he died. Over the phone he'd invited me to join him for dinner at his favorite Chinese restaurant. As usual, we discussed current events, politics, and eventually got onto the subject of art. Allen brought up the painting The Triumph of Death by the 16th century master, Pieter Bruegel the Elder. 
 "Have you ever seen it . . . in real life?" he asked. 
 "No . . . not yet. Where is it?" I asked. 
 "It's in Spain, in the Prado Museum. It's enormous and fucking terrifying!" 
After supper we went up to his apartment, where Allen was in the process of getting rid of things he no longer needed. 
 "Hey Eric, you want this jacket? It looks about your size." 
He handed me a crimson-red blazer jacket. I tried it on. . . . 
 "Good fit" he said, "now it's yours."

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Customer Reviews

The majority of Drooker's art is very good and fairly evocative.
Erin Britton
I thought it was bad in the movie and not much better printed, when is this pixar animation that is leaking into all artwork going to end like it needs to.
N. Vavrosky
Great imagery along with one of the greatest poetry writings of the 20th century.
Brux

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Thedharmabum on September 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
Mr.Drooker's work captures Allen's words in every flicker, every word, ever frame. From the smoldering smoke of the cigarette's glowing ember to the haunted walls of Rockaway, Mr.Drooker takes us along a visual orgasm of forests,alleyways and rooftops as the words of Howl turn with every new page. This book is a masterpiece to capitalize ANY beat generation fans soul instantly! This book adorns one of the book shelves in my den proudly. There is also a movie for this book complete with Mr. Drooker's animation as used in the making of this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Erin Britton on November 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
There are arguably three works that best exemplify Beat literature: Jack Kerouac's On the Road, William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch and Alan Ginsberg's Howl. While all three of these works share a celebration of non-conformity and free expression, they also share a controversial journey to prominence. First published in 1956, Ginsberg's Howl is now widely considered to be a prophetic masterpiece, but it had to overcome censorship trials and obscenity charges before becoming one of the most widely read poems of the century. An epic raging against a dehumanizing society, Ginsberg declares his motivation in writing Howl to be:

"In publishing Howl, I was curious to leave behind after my generation an emotional time bomb that would continue exploding in U.S. consciousness, in case our military-industrial-nationalist complex solidified into a repressive police bureaucracy."

Howl is divided into three main parts with an additional footnote. Part I is "a lament for the Lamb in America with instances of remarkable lamb-like youths" and contains the most well-known passages of the poem. In it Ginsberg relates the regular lows and occasional triumphs of "the best minds of [his] generation", the outcasts - poets, artists, jazz musicians, junkies and the mentally ill - whose truth and beauty he felt was being crushed by an oppressive, conformist society.

Part II rails against the state of the machinery of civilisation, represented by the demonic Moloch, deeming it "the monster of mental consciousness that preys on the Lamb." For Ginsberg, mainstream society has - through war, politics and capitalism - sacrificed the heroes of Part I at Moloch's alter of homogenised modernity.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Neil The Unreel on August 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Huge fan of Allen Ginsberg and what this poem did was revolutionary! With that said, I must admit the poem at times is lengthy and has a bit of drag to it. Now calm down, I still love it and have a CD with Ginsberg reading it. The words and imagery created by "Howl" are a slam to the face at times. It is a very powerful poem and I feel the Eric Drooker illustration helps convey the essence of Ginsberg's words. Does it always go hand-in-hand - no, but it does help move the poem with a better flow than just reading it. Even without the poem, Drooker's work is great and can be judged separately. The illustration on page 12 that goes with the Introduction by Drooker is my favorite, and clearly demonstrates his ability. The illustration is of an eagle soaring over a collection of buildings that form a maze. The eagle is heading toward a setting sun. Wonderful imagery for a powerful poem. It is the kind of book you will pull down off your shelf and just gaze at the art work. It makes a great poem even better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anah on June 25, 2014
Format: Paperback
Drooker’s animations are breathtaking, and I enjoyed seeing the way he interpreted Ginsberg’s words. Making this poem into a major motion picture was an ambitious enterprise; I have to wonder how that went. I must commend Drooker for getting to know Allen Ginsberg. Some reviewers have commented that this is not the right way to present the poem, but I can't believe that a personal friend of Ginsberg would have misrepresented his work. Ginsberg would have loved this graphic novel.

HOWL seemed a great deal more significant when I read it in college. Even though Ginsberg causes readers to think about the state of present society, I feel his words are somewhat time-locked. Readers can’t know all the people and places he references. It’s not even as accessible to me as it was a few years ago... I do think this is an important work, but it can’t mean to me what it did to readers a generation or two ago.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Barrows on April 19, 2013
Format: Paperback
I read "Howl" as a high school student, and thought it would be nice for my students to have the experience, in a more appealing format; the graphic novel.

I guess it had been a while since I read the poem, or maybe I was being naive? I certainly didn't anticipate what some of the language of the poem might look like in picture form. Boy am I glad I screen the books before I put them in my classroom library!!!!!

This is not meant for a classroom, even with mature high school students... This one is staying on my personal bookshelf: )
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kayla Burandt on April 30, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i bought this for my boyfriend as a gift and he loved it! the pictures are great and really work with Ginsberg's work. i would recommend this
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By eddie on September 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
The art is terrific, creating a mesmerizing read of the classic writing. I was skeptical at first, but really enjoyed it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brux on February 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Does not get better than this. Great imagery along with one of the greatest poetry writings of the 20th century.
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