Small Press Spotlight on Andy Hartzell
Cartoon Art Museum Exhibition: May 10 – August 10, 2008
Beginning on May 10, 2008, the Cartoon Art Museum's ongoing Small Press Spotlight will feature the art of Andy Hartzell.
Andy Hartzell has been spinning stories in a variety of media for all his life. Some of his earliest memories involve turning empty stamp-books into little comics. In third grade, he commandeered the school ditto machine to churn out sheaves of single-panel gags for the benefit of his classmates. But it wasn’t until his college years, when he discovered the work of comics pioneers like George Herriman and Robert Crumb, that he was turned on to the real potential of the medium.
Hartzell is a partisan of cartoony cartoons. He likes characters that can only function as squiggles on paper. He likes stories that openly revel in symbols and stereotypes, setting up expectations and knocking them down. He likes the way cartoon icons can penetrate through layers of rational consciousness to connect with our most basic fears and desires. And it’s a plus if they’re funny.
Hartzell’s first completed graphic novel was published by Top Shelf Productions in 2007. Fox Bunny Funny is a twisty little wordless fable that pits social violence against secret desire. It was praised as “a jewel of design and comedy” by the New York Times Book Review and went on to win last year’s Maisie Kukoc Award (along with his mini-comic The Rise and Fall of Yip the Wonder Dog).
Monday, a Garden-of-Eden fantasia, plays out the eternal struggle between Creativity and Control through a brand new adventure starring the world’s oldest characters. Issue #2 of this ongoing story was nominated for an Ignatz Award.
Hartzell’s work has been featured in a number of anthologies, including Boy Trouble and the most recent issue of Papercutter. His weekly strip Fool’s Paradise ran in several alternative weeklies during the second half of the 1990s, and his self-published comic Bread & Circuses was a 1995 Xeric winner.
When he’s not cartooning, Hartzell writes and designs episodic adventure games for Telltale Games, Inc.