Al Capp
Denis Kitchen and Michael Schumacher
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Buy *Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary* by Denis Kitchen and Michael Schumacheronline

Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary
Denis Kitchen and Michael Schumacher
Bloomsbury USA
320 pages
February 2013
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Can you answer the following questions?

  • Who did President Nixon want to run against Ted Kennedy in the Senate?
  • Who exposed himself to Goldie Hawn?
  • Who coined the expressions hogwash, going bananas and double whammy?
  • Who invented Sadie Hawkins Day?
If you answered Al Capp, you win the prize. Here, Schumacher, who has written biographies on Eric Clapton and Allen Ginsberg, and Kitchen, a cartoonist and comics publisher, try to unravel the mystery and enigma of Al Capp. Even in explaining his his own life, Capp was strangely evasive, so putting edges to the smoke wasn't an easy feat.

He was most well-known for creating the landmark comic strip "Li'l Abner," a series that mocked poverty-ridden whites in a town called Dogpatch. Astonishingly, the strip ran from 1934 to 1977--Capp died two years later at age 70. If it weren't for Capp's strip, MAD magazine may have remained forever inside the head of Harvey Kurtzman, Bill Watterson may have never created "Calvin and Hobbes" and Garry Trudeau's "Doonesbury" might still be an idea floating in space somewhere.

This is a remarkable tale about the man who lost his leg as a child after a severe car accident. That horrible event would fuel his desires and force him to develop a sense of humor about the world.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2013

Also edited or written by Denis Kitchen:

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