Wednesday 3 August 2011

New 'Nipper' collection to be released next week

As covered on The Doug Wright Awards blog and The Comics Reporter, a new Nipper book is imminent from Drawn and Quarterly. Nipper: 1965-1966 is the latest in an ongoing series of classic newspaper strip reprints from Canadian cartoonist Doug Wright. (Here's a preview.)

As with Nipper: 1963-1964 Seth is handling the design chores on this puppy (the image above does not do the cover justice; it actually has a nice, comforting sheen to it) and I am providing the introduction. These intros are in some way more challenging to write that the wide-open essay I did for The Collected Doug Wright Volume One in that there's an economy of space operating here. The essay was around 10,000 words; this is more like 700 words and change.

As a result, I'm kind of forced to concentrate on one single facet of the subject (Doug Wright), which as anyone who's read my Volume One essay knows, I'm not a big fan of. What can i say? After years of writing 500-1,000 word newspaper articles I tend to relish the chance to go deep. But, I have so much to say about Wright at this point that I welcome any opportunity to write about him.

Plus, this period in Wright's life was actually pivotal personally and artistically. Here's a brief excerpt:

By 1965 Doug Wright was in an artistic and creative sweet spot. Mid-way into his 32-year run on Nipper, he was a heavyweight in the cartooning establishment: his strip was appearing in dozens of newspapers across Canada and the U.S. and he had fame to spare. It’s fair to say that his name was the most recognizable in Canadian cartooning at the time. But Wright was not content.

Privately he was bristling to start fresh, to pull up stakes and exit Montreal. His journal from 1964 captures his mindset: “Dreaming of being summoned by the Hall Syndicate or Hank Ketcham. Nice to dream anyway! Would like to live halfway between Milwaukee and Chicago. In that old Middle West. CHRIST! Imagine getting away from everything that irritates me around here!”
  You can read my full introduction in the book, which is scheduled to hit shelves August 10th.

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