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The Explainers

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  102 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews

The first of four volumes collecting Feiffer's landmark Village Voice strips.

"My aim was to take the Robert Benchley hero and launch him into the Age of Freud." —Jules Feiffer

In 1956, a relatively unknown cartoonist by the name of Jules Feiffer started contributing a strip to the only alternative weekly published in the US, a small radical newspaper called The Village

Published 1960 by McGraw-Hill
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Marc Weidenbaum
It lasted almost as long as Peanuts (well, it was weekly, not daily), and was done in not when the artist decided it was over, but when his longtime publisher, the Village Voice, gave up on supporting it financially. Feiffer's sui generis is a comic I feel fortunate to have had overlap with my own life, even if I came in on the tail end of its serialization. A lot of it is still fresh to this day -- especially, as Feiffer himself has said, in its depiction of race relations.
Insightful, amusing, modern, perceptive, clever, baffling, sweet - 50 plus years on and Feiffer still pleases. The bit about the Bible critic awaiting the sequel is just priceless.
Aug 02, 2010 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Explainers is really a gem of a book, and hats off to Fantagraphics for taking on its publication. Here we have the first decade of Feiffer strips to appear in the Village Voice, from 1956-1966, complete with an insightful foreward from Gary Groth, offset dates, and even an index. Fantagraphics has promised to publish the entirety of Feiffer’s comics output eventually (he was active in the Voice alone for over forty years), and I really hope they manage to do so. I say "hope" since this involves ...more
Dec 05, 2016 Sem rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sequential-art
Someone made a balls-up when they merged the various editions here (and I don't feel like fixing it). I read the 1960 first edition of The Explainers, not the Fantagraphics edition covering the years 1956-1966.
James F
Feb 04, 2015 James F rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
I used to read Jules Feiffer's comic strips in the 70's when I lived in New York City. I thought he often made great points. This collection is of his oldest strips, before I began reading him; they aren't particularly political at the beginning, but the percentage increases from year to year, especially after the war in Vietnam heated up. I don't know if the political cartoons became much more frequent later, or if I just selectively remember those.

He doesn't really go beyond liberalism, but s
Cartoonist, novelist and playwright Jules Feiffer's Pulitzer-winning comic strip has been influencing and entertaining readers for decades. His internationally syndicated cartoon ran for 42 years in the Village Voice, weaving the social, political, and personal into a perceptive, challenging, often hilarious mix. Feiffer's newest work Explainers: The Complete Village Voice Strips 1956-1966, is the first of four volumes collecting Feiffer's entire run of weekly strips from the Village Voice.

We me
Dec 04, 2014 TrumanCoyote rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
[FIRST READING: * * * *]

The only knock against Feiffer (as I've already noted elsewhere) is his relentlessly liberal slant, with its usual smug and small-minded tendencies. Hence he is generally at his best when emphasizing the personal rather than the political (although it's true his impersonations of Ike were most amusingly spot-on indeed). At any rate, he has an uncanny ability to seem to sum up so much of human experience (or a given aspect of it anyway) in just a couple pages of panels. An
Dec 18, 2011 TrumanCoyote rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Feiffer's great strengths are his wonderful breadth of imagination and the sheer variety of these strips, along with his dead-on ear for dialogue. Unfortunately, the relentlessly liberal slant wore a bit thin after a while, along with the New Yorkish tendencies toward provincialism and snobbery (especially annoying whenever the discussions turned to TV). And of course you have to put up with an awful lot of psychobabble (but then again, that was regrettably the case with anything that passed thr ...more
Brilliant, brilliant book. His simple graphic style and innovative use of the page is excellent, and I cannot believe how fresh and relevant the content of his strips still seems. Feiffer tells it like it is. One of my happiest discoveries of the year.
Jan 16, 2009 spenca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actually I cannot say I "read" this book, since it's more of a 'dipping into' sort of volume (said dipping is still on-going). It is amazing how current many of these strips remain, even 40 years after they were created.
Tattered Cover Book Store
signing at the store 9-20-08
Aug 16, 2012 Edith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant cartoonist whose commentary from 1956 - 1966 resonates today (yes, the 21st century). Funny, poignant, sobering, and human.
Bob Fingerman
Aug 19, 2008 Bob Fingerman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a sustained work of genius. Essential reading for anyone with a brain, sense of humor and conscience.
Jul 30, 2008 Sam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
10 year's of Feiffer's scathing, brilliant Village Voice strips. Genius, for those who can handle it.
Karin rated it liked it
Mar 22, 2015
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Oct 18, 2008
Jamie Ashworth
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Apr 23, 2016
Porkpie rated it it was amazing
Feb 14, 2013
Matthew Budman
Matthew Budman rated it it was amazing
Oct 16, 2012
Philip rated it it was ok
Nov 27, 2015
Dave Kiersh
Dave Kiersh rated it it was amazing
Sep 15, 2012
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Apr 20, 2012
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Sep 24, 2010
Henry Griffin
Henry Griffin rated it it was amazing
Nov 06, 2010
George rated it it was amazing
Nov 20, 2015
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Aug 29, 2013
mingfrommongo rated it really liked it
May 16, 2012
Brett rated it it was amazing
May 25, 2011
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May 08, 2010
Marcia McNally
Marcia McNally rated it really liked it
Jan 09, 2016
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Jules Feiffer is the acclaimed author-illustrator of several books for children, including BARK, GEORGE; MEANWHILE . . .; and I LOST MY BEAR; and the illustrator of THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH, by Norton Juster. Jules Feiffer is also a renowned editorial cartoonist, playwright, novelist, and screenwriter. He has been the recipient of an Academy Award, a Pulitzer Prize, a London Theatre Critics Award, an ...more
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