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.
Whitney’s take on the [romance] genre is not just strange for the sake of strangeness. Rather, it serves as a means of locating the depth of pain women suffer at the mercy of men who find seemingly countless ways to abuse them. . . . For Whitney, romance is about power, which is what it has been for every writer who has taken romance seriously.
—Paul Morton, The Los Angeles Review of Books
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.
With just nine tales, Return to Romance doesn’t wear out its welcome. For me, it did more than fulfill the sort of “lost classics” reissue project that is New York Review Comics’ mandate. It took a once popular, now defunct genre, and for 112 pages made me believe that one of its practitioners held all the secrets.
—Ed Park, The New York Times Book Review
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”
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