The Ithican Observer

Stephen Frug of Ithica, NY, is a graduate student in Cornell University’s history department. He also loves comics, and pays attention to their inner workings with a level of attentiveness that is dazzling—and profoundly gratifying to those of us in the field who wonder, while crosshatching our fingers to the bone, whether anybody out there in readerland will ever notice all the tiny strategies we employ in hopes of making each and every page of a given comic do its job.

Even more gratifyingly, rather than sitting quitely in Ithica pondering his comics in solitude, Stephen shares his observations regularly in his blog Attempts (which I’ve just added to my permanent blogroll because, well, it’s so reliably interesting).

Anyway, this Thursday Stephen chose to expend more than 4,000 words describing in incredible detail how a single page from my graphic novel Stuck Rubber Baby works. Here’s a direct link to his analysis.

That Stephen thinks a page of mine "works" is pleasant news for this affirmation-hungry author in itself. But to have him spend so much time explaining exactly how he thinks it works is downright breathtaking!

Furthermore, when you visit Stephen’s blog you’ll find that this is but a single installment of a massive project that’s been underway since March. It’s called "100 Great Pages." and so far Stephen has given the Frug treatment to pages by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Paul Chadwick, Robert Crumb, and other similarly distinguished creators. And many more installments are clearly in the pipeline since, y’know, his take on page 131 of Stuck Rubber Baby is only #11 in the series! (Stephen invites his readers to nominate their own favorite pages, by the way.)

A final note: This isn’t the first time that Stephen has cast an eye on SRB in his blog, I’ll mention in all immodesty. Check out his November 28 entry for a lengthy description of his experience teaching my graphic novel in the classroom, or my own December blog post describing his blog post. And for any of you who’re scratching your heads thinking, "What the fuck is a Stuck Rubber Baby, anyway?" I’ve got a whole section of my web site devoted to the book.

Yes, carries it, in case you’re wondering….

About Howard

I'm a cartoonist and writer, best known for my graphic novel, Stuck Rubber Baby, and my comic strip from the 1980s, Wendel.
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