Al Capp by Denis Kitchen
A Life to the Contrary

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Schumacher, a biographer of the cartoonist Will Eisner, among others, and Kitchen, a former comics publisher and Capp anthologist, know their subject almost too well.
-NY Times

Synopsis

More than thirty years have passed since Al Capp's death, and he may no longer be a household name. But at the height of his career, his groundbreaking comic strip, Li'l Abner, reached ninety million readers. The strip ran for forty-three years, spawned two movies and a Broadway musical, and originated such expressions as "hogwash" and "double-whammy." Capp himself was a familiar personality on TV and radio; as a satirist, he was frequently compared to Mark Twain.

Though Li'l Abner brought millions joy, the man behind the strip was a complicated and often unpleasant person. A childhood accident cost him a leg-leading him to art as a means of distinguishing himself. His apprenticeship with Ham Fisher, creator of Joe Palooka, started a twenty-year feud that ended in Fisher's suicide. Capp enjoyed outsized publicity for a cartoonist, but his status abetted sexual misconduct and protected him from the severest repercussions. Late in life, his politics became extremely conservative; he counted Richard Nixon as a friend, and his gift for satire was redirected at targets like John Lennon, Joan Baez, and anti-war protesters on campuses across the country.

With unprecedented access to Capp's archives and a wealth of new material, Michael Schumacher and Denis Kitchen have written a probing biography. Capp's story is one of incredible highs and lows, of popularity and villainy, of success and failure-told here with authority and heart.
 

About Denis Kitchen

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Denis Kitchen, an underground cartoonist, founded the pioneering Kitchen Sink Press and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. The Oddly Compelling Art of Denis Kitchen, a monograph of his art career, was published in 2009. He lives in western Massachusetts.Michael Schumacher has written biographies of Allen Ginsberg, Eric Clapton, Phil Ochs, Francis Ford Coppola, George Mikan, and comics artist Will Eisner. His other recent books include Wreck of the Carl D. and Mighty Fitz. He lives in Wisconsin.
 
Published February 26, 2013 by Bloomsbury USA. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Al Capp
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Andy Webster on Apr 26 2013

Schumacher, a biographer of the cartoonist Will Eisner, among others, and Kitchen, a former comics publisher and Capp anthologist, know their subject almost too well.

Read Full Review of Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary | See more reviews from NY Times

WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by Edward Kosner on Feb 22 2013

...as Messrs. Schumacher and Kitchen's conscientious account shows, the man who made Dogpatch a metaphor for America was a sad, tormented soul who never could enjoy the gaiety he so freely gave others.

Read Full Review of Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary | See more reviews from WSJ online

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75%

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