Speechless is an out-of-print coffee table art book, a retrospective of Peter’s work from Top Shelf Productions (2000).
Orders ship directly from Peter, signed and personalized with a sketch.
Top Shelf // Hardcover // 112 pages
October 2000 // 1891830147 // 9.5 x 12.5 inches
Spanning three decades, Speechless covers the career of artist Peter Kuper from his co-founding days of World War 3, to Rolling Stone's "Comic Artist of the Year,” to major magazine cover illustrator and beyond. This hardcover collection includes dozens of unpublished illustrations and wordless comics, rendered in Kuper's unique stencil-style, the same style that helped to revamp the look and feel of the world renowned Spy vs. Spy. Speechless will also include essays and anecdotes on his experiences as a comic art expert in a landmark obscenity trial; a step-by-step discussion of the process of illustrating covers for magazines; commentary on creating the very first comic strip to appear in the hallowed New York Times; and tales of harrowing travels spanning the globe.
From Publishers Weekly
This retrospective volume collects the comics, illustrations, cover art and life story of Kuper, a prolific and politically aware comics artist and illustrator. He is best known for dynamic, multilayered stencil drawings and cover illustrations for Time, Newsweek, Mother Jones and the Nation. Although he earned acclaim in a decade in which autobiographical comics dominated the alternative comix scene, his sensibility clearly descends from the subject matter (politics, satire and adult themes) of the 1960s underground cartoonists. The book underscores Kuper's concerns about homelessness, censorship and the environment, as well as his sense of humor, eye for detail and a vividly graphic imagination, and suggest why his work is not only instantly recognizable but also highly marketable. In the story "Jungleland," for example, the images morph from an urban police scene into the window of an artist at work at his desk, into the paradisiacal jungle of his psyche and back again. The book also collects Kuper's various projects, including autobiographical comics, World War 3 (a periodical he cofounded that is devoted to political comics) and a selection of travel comics compiled from his many trips around the world. Best of all, the book presents work commissioned but never published, pieces that do double duty, exhibiting previously unseen art while commenting on the squeamishness of commercial publishers. Finally, there's a time line of Kuper's career (at four he decides to be an artist; at five an entomologist) that puts the collection into the context of a thoughtful and creative life in graphic arts.
Kuper maintains an impressively diverse career. His politically driven work appears seemingly everywhere, from the covers of Time and Newsweek to local alternative weeklies. He has illustrated books, he cofounded the hard-hitting political comics journal World War II Illustrated, and recently he took over the Spy vs. Spy feature in Mad. He is so prolific that it would be easy to think there must be several of him if it weren't for his distinctive spray-paint-and-stencil technique, the results of which resemble full-color woodcuts. In alternative comics, in which he has done everything from Kafka adaptations to autobiographical stories, he is best known for wordless stories that communicate entirely visually, hence the title of this generous sampling of a decade's work. Kuper provides lively commentary throughout, most notably a chilling account of his testimony for an underground cartoonist on trial for obscenity. The collection attests Kuper's successful commercial career and his heartfelt leftist political convictions. As befits the latter, the volume--an oversize, hardcover, full-color art book--is, at 20 bucks, bargain priced.