Additional Book Information
Series: New York Review Comics
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Return to RomanceThe Strange Love Stories of Ogden Whitney
by Ogden Whitney, edited by Dan Nadel and by Frank Santoro, introduction by Liana Finck
Ogden Whitney was one of the unsung masters of American comics. He is perhaps best remembered for co-creating the satirical superhero Herbie Popnecker, also known as the Fat Fury, but his romance comics of the late 1950s and 1960s may be even more unique. In Whitney’s hands, the standard formula of meet-cute, minor complications, and final blissful kiss becomes something very different: an unsettling vision of midcentury American romance as a devastating power struggle, a form of intimate psychological warfare dressed up in pearls and flannel suits. From suburban lawns and offices to rocket labs and factories, his men and women scheme and clash, dominate and escape. It is darkly hilarious, truly terrifying—and yes, occasionally even a bit romantic.
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Ogden Whitney was one of those very unique artists who caught my attention with everything he did. Comedy or drama, I could always count on his natural style to take me on a pleasant ride.
New York Review Books' laudable project of reviving under-appreciated text and visual works of the last century hits a bullseye with this appreciation of Ogden Whitney. … Whitney’s truly disturbing take on the genre surfaced sinister, psychologically dense power-struggles that motivated his lovers. All this was in stark contrast to the anodyne cartoon styles of the journeyman artists who illustrated them. Prepare to be unsettled.
—Steve Smith, Folio’s “Best Books for Print People 2019”
[V]ery funny and savage and knowing. Daniel Clowes and Liana Finck … regard [Whitney] as something of a hero ...
—Rachel Cooke, The Guardian’s “best graphic novels of 2019”
Ogden Whitney’s comics are about everything I’ve ever been interested in reading about, from make-outs to makeovers. Which is to say, they’re a little bit about men, but more importantly, they’re about women. This collection is both significant and delicious.
This reprinting stays true to the comics' original look and feel, in saturated colors on grainy, newsprint-effect paper … In his afterword, Nadel echoes [Finck’s introduction] to remark on the psychological precision and refreshing directness of Whitney's storytelling, which is sure to ensnare new readers in this well-presented throwback volume.
—Annie Bostrom, Booklist
[Whitney] was a master of deadpan absurdity.
—Drew Friedman, Print
Unlike many artists from that era whose work is vivid but rushed, seeming almost primitive today, Whitney’s aesthetic is basically timeless, with ultra clean lines and bright coloring drawing out the exceptional level of detail in his backgrounds.
—The Cultural Gutter
They’re the weirdest romance comics ever. And the greatest, I think, except for [Jack] Kirby’s, which are unbelievably good. His version of men and women courting is men and women terrorizing each other for eight or sixteen pages. Pure terror. Psychological warfare. The thing about Whitney I like so much is that it’s like phonebook art, it’s so generic it’s unique. It’s like digging a hole in the earth and getting to China. You come out the other side and it’s so unique.
—Dan Nadel, The Comics Reporter