Reviews for "Stripped":
No autobiographical cartoonist can be said to
have arrived without the obligatory work exposing the most hilarious
and/or pathetic moments
of his or her sexual coming of age. In Stripped, Kuper (ComicsTrips)
delivers, rendering himself as a Hugh Hefner-like, pipe-smoking, bathrobed
narrator, he takes us on a trip back to his high school years. But
Kuper was clearly no playboy; he portrays himself as a ridiculously
timid "bunny-boy," mortified by his own virginity, hopping
away at strategic erotic moments, obsessed with sex but terrified at
the prospect. "The fun I could have had if I knew what I know
now!" grumbles Kuper/Hefner as he reviews one (bungled) nubile
opportunity after another. He was much better at pot and drugs ("I
took to dealing pot like a gambler to a craps table"); he recounts
his well-researched pot connoisseurship, and there is a wonderfully
illustrated reminiscence of his first acid trip: "I never realized
I could look into the center of the earth." Kuper rounds out his
personal sex-u-mentary with a "girlfriend from hell" story
that caps his development from frightened teenage sexual explorer to
lovesick doormat. Kuper combines a great talent for comedic writing
with an inventively cartoony-and sometimes dazzling-graphic style.
Drawings are in b&w.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Illustrator Kuper's work appears frequently in
the New York Times and mass-circulation magazines, but relatively few
see his stories in alternative
comics publications. Most of his work is political (he copublishes the
bitterly savage comic World War 3 Illustrated ), but Stripped collects
autobiographical tales. It begins with an account of Kuper's extended
efforts to lose his virginity, includes other stories detailing various
unhealthy and/or highly confused relationships, and ends, perhaps appropriately,
with a paean to masturbation. Other stories relate adolescent pot-smoking
exploits and depict some unsettling dreams. Kuper's pseudo-woodcut technique
is more stylized than the more naturalistic approaches taken by most
autobiographical comics artists, but it perfectly suits his exaggerated,
mocking perspective on himself (e.g., when he timidly tries to put the
moves on a succession of girlfriends, he draws himself as a scared rabbit).
Nearly everybody should be able to relate to Kuper's sagas of insecurity
and rejection, so this collection should do well in libraries where adult
comics have proven popular.
Gordon Flagg from Booklist