IF THE RAINDROPS UNITED

DRAWINGS AND CARTOONS

A more-misses-than-hits collection that will likely find a home in bathroom-reading bins.

A comedian presents a series of drawings and cartoons, most of which “are comedy. But some are serious. Or just weird.”

Friedlander has been performing stand-up comedy since he was 19, but he is best known for his roles in American Splendor and on 30 Rock, in which he delivered a hilarious performance as oddball TV writer Frank Rossitano. The eccentricity and offbeat humor of that role are amply reflected in this short book, which features crudely drawn cartoons on a variety of subjects (jokes about genitalia and scenes from New York City both feature prominently). Most of the pieces are a single page, though some provide a brief story—e.g., the adventures of “Gentrification Man,” a “superhero for the rich and overprivileged who “stand[s] up for the rights of corporations.” The style and tone of these cartoons contain echoes of the Far Side, the drawings of Demetri Martin (particularly his 2011 book, This Is a Book), and some of the rougher pieces at The Oatmeal, but most of Friedlander’s cartoons are not as darkly clever as the Far Side or as laugh-out-loud funny as Martin’s. There are a few highlights, however: a panel showing two buildings, one labeled “Yoga” and the other “50 Dollar Cupcakes,” with the caption “Where to Meet Women in Manhattan”; “Novice Shopping Cart Thief,” with a picture of a man walking down the sidewalk carrying a shopping cart above his head; and “Goth Crayon Box,” a drawing of a large box of crayons with just one black crayon in it. Unfortunately, these are few and far between in a book that seems like a partial draft or a home sketchbook that will eventually become part of a more substantial work.

A more-misses-than-hits collection that will likely find a home in bathroom-reading bins.

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-316-30695-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Hachette

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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