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Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer
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Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  293 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Julius Knipl, the rumpled antihero of Ben Katchor's cult cartoon strip, comes alive in this all-new collection of strange and strangely absorbing urban adventures. The Knipl stories collected here resurrect a lost metropolis and its residents, summoning up half-forgotten yesterdays and celebrating the surreal substrate of the quotidien.
Paperback, 112 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 1996)
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109th out of 229 books — 103 voters

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Community Reviews

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This graphic novel is one of the strangest I've read, but I love it! The scenes are of a large city like New York, filled with strange businesses like the society for drowned men, the Combinator Dream paper that chronicles everyone's dreams, a real estate theme park with each apartment on a tram line running through it. My favorite line: "Goat curry and a middle-aged librarian, that's what I'm in the mood for."
I would be hard-pressed to come up with a less intriguing title than this one. Nothing screams obnoxious independent comic like an obstinately boring title, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

I picked it up after reading Michael Chabon's essay about it in Maps and Legends, and was quite impressed. While many of the strips include Julius Knipl, he is more an observer of Katchor's surreal city than a participant. Knipl walks a city of nostalgia, of melancholy workmen whose liv
Mar 18, 2009 Alan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Seven-layer cake workers; ball-point pen starters; measles grooms...
Ben Katchor, in the wry confines of Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer, strikes a note of sustained surrealism that both satisfies and sparks new desires. Moody and subtle, Katchor's lopsided sketches complement the text with which the images are awash.

Julius Knipl is inundated by proper names that carry the weight of specificity. Company logos on buildings and trucks: the Doloroso Theater; the Hylozoic Cafe; the Atlantic Ocean Laundry. Newspapers, like the "Daily Pigeon" and the "Evening Co
This was our third entry in the Jewish graphic novels series and a much harder sell, in part because there is no following Spiegelman's Maus and because this book isn't really a novel: it's a collection of strips that appeared in The Forward and the Village Voice from 1988 to the mid-90s. Katchor's technique is to tap into the tradition of Jewish absurdism and give it a contemporary, ironic tweak. The results can be remote and emotionally distancing at first, but once you appreciate the warmth o ...more
It is often said that the line between genius and madness is a thin one, especially in artists' works. Ben Katchor, in his semi-regular comic "Julius Knipl: Real Estate Photographer", not only straddles that line, but also falls over one side, or the other, unnervingly often. Reading a collection of his urban vignettes in comic-form is much like gold-mining: there is treasure to be found, but a great deal of time will be spent shoveling through worthless dirt. He seems to spend far too much time ...more
Bill Glover
When Michael Chabon says something is good, it is. Katchor invents and populates a world in Borges style (as Chabon points out)with the same delicate touch of familiar but elusive detail. The city, the true subject, is as stark a representation if urban isolation imaginable. It's as if you took The Trail and digressed into the stories of the other people around K. It isn't a pro-active horror story, just a series of odd tails in a made up New York that aren't at all real but resonate with certai ...more
Jan 24, 2015 Sunny rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: art, humor
I am a big fan.
I read this for my "Jewish Adventures in the Graphic Novel" book group. I had a hard time getting thru the book -- it's mostly just a compilation of 8-panel comic strips that have been featured in newspapers (mainly the Forward). However, after going to the group discussion about the book, i have a greater appreciation for the book. And, after the class facilitator played us recordings of this comic strip in radio-version audio form, I REALLY enjoyed it:
In this graphic novel, Katchor brilliantly creates an alternate-universe New York City, delicately straddling the line between used-to-be and never-was. Knipl isn't the protagonist as much as a leitmotif, weaving in and out of these narratives in his nocturnal sojourns, not appearing on every page but never more than a block or two away. Odd, yet amiable.
Michael Borshuk
Imagine if Wallace Stevens, Edward Hopper, Frank O'Hara, and Bernard Malamud drank some absinthe and collaborated on a comic strip... A brilliant evocation of the secret life of the big city, with a surrealist's eye on the lonely hearts and fuzzy dreams lying under the rugs, in the dark corners of urban spaces. Every page was a revelation.
Not as good as Cheap Novelties, but close. I think the reason I liked his Cheap Novelties more was because it was more random, dealing with multiple tokens of walking into an antique store or a flea market and learning about things (or ideas) you never knew existed.
*** dry and funny though the oddness gets samey sometimes
Aug 19, 2007 Melissa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: umbrella-related injury sufferers
If you have a misplaced sense of nostaliga for a city's past you were too young to experience, then you will love Ben Katchor. Make Winesburg, Ohio into a sepia-tinged Gotham and you will come near the experience of Julius Knipl.
Nick Douglas
Magical, though a little less satisfying than I'd hoped after reading this comic in my city's alt weekly during high school. It's a bit like "Invisible Cities" for 20th Century America. Smart introduction by Michael Chabon.
I don't know that I'd want to live in the world Ben Katchor creates for Julius Knipl -- sort of an alternate universe to New York's Lower East Side from decades ago -- but I'd certainly like to visit it.
Dreamlike, almost-familiar characters drifting through an almost-New York, meditating on life and loneliness amidst diners and marquees. There's really nothing like Julius Knipl.
Mike O'Brien
Really enjoyed reading "Julius Knipl: Real Estate Photographer": a collection of wry, surreal, & detail rich observations on metropolitan life. Love the drawing style.
Jul 21, 2008 Beret is currently reading it
I'm leading an ALA library series "Let's Talk about It: Jewish Literature / The Graphic Novel" this fall, so I have a lot to learn!
Mark Feltskog
Superb. Is Ben Katchor the (surrealist) Joseph Mitchell of graphic novels?
Not the worst book I have ever read, but definitely in the bottom 10%
Philip Athans
Worthy of pure love, from the pages of the Chicago Reader.
peculiar nostalgia, weird but familiar world...
Great collection of strips, funny, dada.
Maybe the best thing I've read this year.
4 & 1/2 stars.
Frank marked it as to-read
Feb 14, 2015
Will M
Will M marked it as to-read
Feb 09, 2015
Random Kid#174
Random Kid#174 marked it as to-read
Feb 08, 2015
Jesse Baer
Jesse Baer marked it as to-read
Feb 07, 2015
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Ben Katchor (born 1951 in Brooklyn, NY) is an American cartoonist. His comic strip Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer paints an evocative picture of a slightly surreal, historical New York City with a decidedly Jewish sensibility. Julius Knipl has been published in several book collections including Cheap Novelties: The Pleasure of Urban Decay and The Beauty Supply District. Other serialized c ...more
More about Ben Katchor...
The Jew of New York Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer: The Beauty Supply District The Cardboard Valise Hand-Drying in America and Other Stories Cheap Novelties: The Pleasures of Urban Decay, with Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer

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