March 11, 2013 at 1:00 pm By:

ANDY’S PICK :: HAND DRYING IN AMERICA: Ben Katchor is one of the greatest cartooning talents working today.  I would highly recommend any of his books– Julius Knipl Real Estate Photographer, The Cardboard Valise, The Jew in New York or his new book Hand-drying In America and Other Stories which is a collection of weekly strips from Metropolitan Magazine.  The main focus of each strip is supposed to be New York architecture, but with Katchor at the helm, the strips quickly veer off into a world all their own.  Katchor’s world is a nostalgic love-letter to a NYC that never quite existed.   The disposable, the mundane– old catalogs, stand-alone coat racks, used door bells– become intrinsically important because some grown-up makes his living by selling them or managing a plant that manufactures them.  It is the adult world from our collective childhood based on old movies and Black & White sitcoms– a downtown business district so alien to a child’s view-point that it may as well reside in another dimension. Take the world of Saul Bellow and Phillip Roth’s fiction and siphon it through the minds-eye of an absurdest comedian like Steven Wright. That is Katchor’s universe, but as hard as I try, I am still not doing Katchor justice. And the artwork– Katchor has named Bill Griffith, R. Crumb, Poussin and Rembrandt as four of his biggest influences. Quite an odd mix and what exquisite execution. Treat yourself and pick up any of his books.  You will be amazed, tickled and just a bit sad throughout. And then you will be back for more.


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