Posts Tagged ‘Weirdo’

Norman Pettingill: His Life

Posted by on March 9th, 2010 at 12:01 AM

In June, Fantagraphics Books will publish a collection of Norman Pettingill’s work. Comic fans may remember that Robert Crumb published some of Pettingill’s cartoon drawings in Weirdo in the mid-’80s. The idea of publishing an entire book collecting Pettingill’s work was first broached to me by Johnny Ryan, a Pettingill fan (and the cartoonist behind Angry Youth Comics and Prison Pit), a few years ago. The John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, is the repository for most of Pettingill’s work, and agreed to help us put together a book. Johnny wrote a brief appreciation; R. Crumb loved Pettingill’s work and wrote a brief introduction. But, so little is known about Pettingill himself that I felt the book required a short biography of the man — so I wrote one.

There has been very little written about Pettingill, making it difficult to put together a story of his life. I had only previously read “A Visit with Norman Pettingill” by Rodney Shroeter from Comic Art # 3 (2003), which was useful but also problematic: it charted the broad arc of Pettingill’s life in desultory fashion, but also contained inaccuracies and internal discrepancies. I was able to separate fact from fiction by interviewing Pettingill’s sons, Bud and Jack, and by consulting a lifelong friend of Pettingill’s, Jim Pink, all of whom proved generous with their time and helpful.

*This is the latest draft, which may be slightly revised for publication.

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Mid-Life Creative Imperatives Part 3 (of 3)

Posted by on February 26th, 2010 at 12:01 AM

The Journal began publishing almost the same month that Art Spiegelman and Bill Griffith’s underground comix anthology Arcade ended — as good an event as any to signal the last whimper of the underground movement.