Today is the 90th birthday of cartoonist/screenwriter/playwright Jules Feiffer. He likes to point out he was born the same year as Popeye (and Feiffer would go on to write the screenplay for Robert Altman’s polarizing POPEYE musical, starring Robin Williams.)
Jules Feiffer is busier than ever — here’s what he’s been up to in the past year:
- He published a brand-new graphic novel, THE GHOST SCRIPT, the concluding book in a satirical noir trilogy. (This volume centered around the Hollywood Blacklist of 1953.)
- 2018 saw the release of the excellent BERNARD & HUEY, an indie comedy starring Jim Rash and David Koechner as characters from Feiffer’s long-running Village Voice cartoons. (The script was produced 30 years after it was written, and now it’s streaming on Amazon Prime.)
- Feiffer’s black comedy LITTLE MURDERS got a deluxe Blu-Ray release from Indicator, with a new commentary by Feiffer and the film’s leading man, Elliott Gould. (The “social horror” movie was based on Feiffer’s first play, directly inspired by the Kennedy Assassination. The Broadway production closed after only seven performances, but the film became an underseen cult classic.)
- After saying he’d never go back to political cartooning, he returned to form with Jules Feiffer’s American Follies for the online magazine TABLET. (This comes after his 40-year tenure as a cartoonist at the Village Voice.)
- And most recently, he announced that he’s writing a new graphic novel trilogy, a science-fiction/fantasy series.
Feiffer’s distinct brand of nervous humor is just as relevant as ever; whether it’s THE GHOST SCRIPT’s prescient political humor, LITTLE MURDERS’ commentary on gun violence, or BERNARD & HUEY’s struggle of the sexes. (Feiffer told an interviewer, “I always objected to the Thurber phrase ‘battle of the sexes,’ because I didn’t think it was about a battle, it was always a struggle to find yourself in someone else. And mostly failing.”)
For your immediate viewing pleasure, here’s his 1961 Academy-award winning short film, MUNRO, about a four-year-old boy who gets drafted into the Army.