I’m not new to NBM but I am new to the new and improved NBM blog so an introduction is in order. Below is some biographical information. I’ll be chiming in now and again about my latest project for NBM, the revised, bigger paperback edition of THE YEAR OF LOVING DANGEROUSLY, my “graphic memoir” about surviving post-Ivy League homelessness in 1980s New York City.
Ted Rall’s Bio
Editorial Cartoonist Ted Rall became nationally known for his work during the 1990s, when he brought the multiple-panel format of newspaper comics to the political cartoon format. Rall helped modernize political cartooning, inspiring a younger generation of alternative-weekly artists with a more direct, less metaphorical approach to satire before moving on to publishing his work in major daily newspapers including The New York Times, where he became its most reprinted cartoonist.
Born in Massachusetts and raised in Dayton, Ohio, Rall left in order to attend Columbia University in New York, which became his home and inspiration for his gritty urban style. New York was where Rall met pop artist Keith Haring; it was Haring who suggested that Rall take his political cartoons directly to the people by posting them on subway entrances and other public spaces in order to attract attention and find readers. Within a few years, his cartoons were published in weekly newspapers such as NY Weekly and The Village Voice, as well as across the United States and Canada.
Rall’s work was signed for syndication in 1991. He has been with Universal Press Syndicate (now called Andrews McMeel Syndication) since 1996.
Rall’s cartoons have appeared in hundreds of publications around the world, including Rolling Stone, Time, Newsweek, Esquire, The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times and smaller papers like the Des Moines Register and Dayton Daily News. Today he is one of the most widely syndicated U.S. political cartoonists, as well as a nationally syndicated opinion columnist.
Rall is also a graphic novelist, having won prizes for his works of comix journalism such as “To Afghanistan and Back,” the result of his on-the-ground cartoons and essays filed from the front lines of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 as an unembedded reporter living with local families, and his series of cartoon biographies “Snowden” and “Bernie,” about the NSA whistleblower and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate. “Bernie” was a New York Times bestseller.
As an editor, Rall has worked to elevate and promote cartooning. He edited the three-volume “Attitude” book anthology, which defined the “alternative” genre of modern political cartooning that followed the donkeys-and-elephants era. He edited round-ups of comics for sites like The Daily Beast and is now the Cartoon Editor at Forbes.com. As Editor of Acquisitions and Development for United Media, Rall worked to diversify daily comics, signing more women and people of color into syndication than any other executive in history.
Rall’s most recent book is a graphic novel-format biography of Pope Francis.
In 2009 NBM published my first and only collaboration with another creator, THE YEAR OF LOVING DANGEROUSLY. I wrote the story—my story—and Pablo G. Callejo, the Spanish genius behind BLUESMAN, drew the artwork. I was really happy with the way it turned out. Despite never having visited New York before, much less during the 1980s, Pablo managed to channel what NYC felt like during the bad old days of the Reagan era.
YEAR OF LOVING is about my year (really a year and a half, closer to two) that followed my expulsion from Columbia University for both academic and disciplinary reasons. In short order I lost my girlfriend, a place to live and my job. With only a few buck in my pocket I got ready to face the reality of homelessness in Manhattan.
Until I lucked into a place to stay with a woman who picked me up.
YEAR OF LOVING did OK. But it was, I think, ahead of its time. Besides, the economy was terrible. With 500,000+ Americans losing their job every month, not a lot of consumers were picking up graphic novels. Personally, I think the 6×9 trim size of the hardback didn’t do Pablo’s artwork justice.
The new paperback coming out in April 2019 fixes the size problem: at 8.5×11 the artwork really shines and you can easily read it. The #MeToo movement puts this story into a textured context (I’ll blog about that next time); here’s a story about a man relying on the kindness of women rather than the clichéed opposite scenario in which men wield their power over women. And of course the paperback is more affordable and the economy doesn’t suck as badly.
More on the book.
Back from France. It’s been a great weekend at the Blues Festival “Blues Sur Seine”, where I’ve been signing the French edition of “Bluesman”, at Mantes-la-Jolie (such a great name for a city!). I would thank Philippe, Dimitri and the rest of the enthusiastic members of “Bulles a Mantes” for their kinderness.
They organized a small exhibition of “Bluesman” original art, at the ENM (a fantastic School of Music, Dance and Theatre, at Mantes). Pretty beautiful.
The stuff helps people (well, I hope so) to have an idea about the “making of”, from the script page to the final art. That’s something that I always loved to see when I was on the other side –the reader’s side-, and I want the people see now in my work. I found really interesting to see the penciled pages, compare them with the final results, checking corrections and modifications…
I had time to spend in Paris. Always beautiful, one of these cities where everyone should go at last one time. And, as the rest of France, very friendly with comics. I don’t know how are things in the States, but I can say for sure that it’s hard to find in Spain an art gallery like this:
There are many other beautiful things you can see in Paris, besides the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre. And I’m not talking about the beautiful “parisiennes” girls (“the only women in the World who can look glamourous while riding on bike wearing skirts”, according to my wife). I talk about this:
Anyway, talking about “making of” and sketches, there are some of the first stuff I prepared for “The Year of Loving Dangerously”, based on a introductory text which Ted Rall sent to me, to check if my style will match the story:
I hope you liked!