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Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  343 Ratings  ·  32 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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Community Reviews

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Sep 29, 2016 Pantelis rated it it was amazing
This is a psychogeographer's delight! Each observant walker of cities should own a copy of this book. I own two of the few copies available in the Balkans... Ben Katchor's work expands the definition of literature...
Jun 15, 2014 David rated it really liked it
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
David Schaafsma
I had thought Knipl was a kind of adolescent joke name from Katchor, and a good silly one, and I wouldn't put it past him, butt nope, "knipl" is more meaningful, Michael Chabon tells us in his lovely introduction, it's a "nest egg" and that fits for comics, as he points out, and for MacArthur-award winning comics genius Katchor, whose book is a collection of strips focused on real estate and economics and urban working class Jewish men living in a nostalgic fantasy version of New York City. Katc ...more
Apr 01, 2008 Al rated it it was amazing
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."
Aug 19, 2007 Melissa rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 01, 2016 aneurysm1985 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics, humour
Time for a naysayer to enter this wall-to-wall palace of 5-star reviews.

To me, reading Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer is a slog. And a slog is the opposite of what the comics medium should deliver.

Comics - with its combination of words and pictures - allows writers the ability to convey information in a way that is far more efficient and readable than prose text. See: Scott McCloud's excellent book on the subject.

Ben Katchor chooses not to use this potential. He instead opts to make the
Mar 18, 2009 Alan rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 06, 2012 Iain rated it it was ok
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
Sep 10, 2008 Kirk rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 06, 2016 Will rated it really liked it
Ben Katchor is a great artist in sequential art. His art has a rough, but detailed vintage feel that compliments his wordy evocation of a nearly alternate universe.

It's New York of course, but it's the Big Apple of an alternate universe. It's a universe where the minute trivia of pedestrian lives is elevated to an epic, intertwining discourse filled with unidentifiable melancholy and gentle, complex humor.

This is Zippy the Pinhead meets Joe Sacco -- it's an absurd comment on the everyday lives o
Feb 15, 2009 Stefanie rated it it was ok
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:
Bill Glover
Dec 03, 2014 Bill Glover rated it really liked it
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
Aug 23, 2015 Harvey rated it really liked it
- I enjoyed this quirky adult cartoon collection and entirely agree with the book jacket's comparisons to both Proust and Kafka.
- The story lines are odd and dark, but undeniably unique.
- puts me in mind of Chris Ware ('Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid In The World') and Art Speigleman's 'Maus' and 'Maus II'
Michael Borshuk
Aug 14, 2013 Michael Borshuk rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 15, 2013 Peter rated it it was amazing
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.
Nick Douglas
Jul 22, 2012 Nick Douglas rated it liked it
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.
Sep 11, 2008 Daniel rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 18, 2013 Stephen rated it really liked it
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.
Clark Knowles
Mar 03, 2015 Clark Knowles rated it it was amazing
Set in a strange world of heating pad repairmen and newspapers that report dreams and hiking excursions that depend upon a constant supply of un-splayed toothpicks, Katchor follows Julius Knipl on his journeys. A strange, surreal, touching graphic novel.
Apr 23, 2013 Raphaela rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faves
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.
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!
Mike O'Brien
Apr 12, 2009 Mike O'Brien rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed reading "Julius Knipl: Real Estate Photographer": a collection of wry, surreal, & detail rich observations on metropolitan life. Love the drawing style.
Jason Waldrop
Jason Waldrop rated it it was amazing
Aug 29, 2012
Penelope rated it it was amazing
Nov 12, 2007
Ken Krimstein
Ken Krimstein rated it really liked it
Dec 07, 2015
Vanessa Hutchinson
Vanessa Hutchinson rated it it was amazing
Mar 08, 2013
Mariko rated it it was amazing
Jan 12, 2012
Larry Holderfield
Larry Holderfield rated it really liked it
Jan 12, 2013
Andre rated it liked it
Dec 14, 2015
Christopher Lowrance
Christopher Lowrance rated it it was amazing
Jun 18, 2008
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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...

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“Goat curry and a female librarian, that's what I'm in the mood for.” 3 likes
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