An Interview with Peter Kuper

By Dart Admin    Monday July 9, 2007

Editor's note: To celebrate the release of his new graphic novel, the normally reclusive Peter Kuper agreed to take a few questions about his book, Stop Forgetting To Remember. When we looked to find an appropriate interviewer the obvious choice was cartoonist Walter Kurtz. After all, Kuper's new book is the autobiography of Mr. Kurtz. -PR

kuper_art.jpgWalter Kurtz: Let me start by asking-where the HELL do you get off writing my autobiography??
Peter Kuper: Well, I...

WK: Let me rephrase that. Given all the embarrassing details of my life you've deigned to expose to the world-the sex, the drug use, the humiliating relationships-how do you sleep at night?
PK: I-that is you, you're my alter ego.

WK: And I suppose that gets you off the hook? So why use an alter ego? If you want to tell the world your business, why not be a man about it and fess up to it being you?
PK: By making it a separate character it gave me the room to play with the facts so they would best serve the story. I combined people and situations in a way I couldn't with a straight autobiography.

WK: You mean you wanted deniability, and didn't want to end up on Oprah whining about how sorry you were for misleading people?
PK: I suppose you could...

WK: So, really what you've produced here is an auto-lie-ography?
PK: I think of it as a coming-of-middle-age tale. The idea of the title is that as we age we tend to distance ourselves from our past behavior, often rejecting it as youthful stupidity or we outright forget who we once were. This can be especially true for parents since they assume that their kids could never survive the crazy things they themselves did.

WK: Uh-huh.
PK: The book is about many things. It covers a ten-year period in New York from 1995 to 2005. It includes experiences during the time of 9/11, the Iraq war and Katrina with George W. Bush in the White House. It also examines the process of trying to create a graphic novel while juggling parenting, work and friendships and all that entails. At the same time the story jumps back and forth through time to show the struggles of childhood and adolescence.

WK: Don't forget masturbation, you include that earth-shaking subject too.
PK: (sigh) Comics are an incredible medium that can do everything from journalism, to adaptation to m-

WK: Masturbation?
PK: I was going to say memoir.

PK: Sure you were.
PK: Look, read the book or don't-I spent years busting my ass on it and I need this aggravation like I need-

WK: To mas-
PK: Don't even say it.

You might have asked me about the latest in Oaxaca, Mexico, or my years working at Mad magazine doing Spy vs Spy, or co-founding World War 3 Illustrated, or a million other things that actually matter, but you blew it! (Sound of rustling mic followed by slamming door)

WK: Humph-cartoonists...go figure. Anyway, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that "Kuper's" book will be in stores tomorrow (July 10th) and he will be doing talks and signings around town and around the country. Please check links for details.

New York, NY
Wednesday, July 11, 7:00 pm
Presentation and book signing for Stop Forgetting To Remember at The Strand Bookstore, Broadway at 12th Street

Thursday, July 12, 3:00 pm
Reading and art demonstration for Kuper's children's book, Theo and The Blue Note at Calypso, 407 Broome Street, between Grand and Kenmare Streets.

Friday, July 13, 8:00 - 10:00 pm
The official release party and art show for Stop Forgetting To Remember at Rocketship, in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

Sunday, July 22, 7:00 pm
Presentation and book signing for Stop Forgetting To Remember, and presentation of new work from Oaxaca, Mexico, at Bluestockings Bookstore and Cafe, 172 Allen Street, between Stanton and Rivington Streets.

San Diego, CA
Wednesday - Sunday, July 25th-29th
Comic Con. Book signing for Theo and the Blue Note and Stop Forgetting To Remember in the Artist's Alley.

Cleveland, OH
Tuesday, July 31, 7:00 pm
Book signing for Stop Forgetting To Remember at Mac's Backs - Books on Coventry, 1820 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights, OH

Atlanta, GA
Friday, August 31 - Sunday, September 2
Presentation and book signing for Theo and the Blue Note and Stop Forgetting To Remember, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival