When you pick up that first crayon, it could be the path of long misery when you aspire to be a cartoonist. As a Cartoonist by Noah Van Sciver will you think twice about being a cartoonist. Kidding aside, Van Sciver brilliantly delivers another great body of art at his own expense. Nothing like a struggling artist emulating Harvey Pekar.
A series of comic strips joined together by the theme of the author’s chosen profession — cartooning — reveals a funny and often poignant reflection on the human condition and the lives we choose to live.
Acclaimed cartoonist Noah Van Sciver puts to use all the creative arrows in his quiver in this captivating collection of fiction, biography, memoir, and more. Van Sciver juxtaposes fictional stories about what life as a “19th Century Cartoonist” might have looked like with a series of autobiographical strips about life as a contemporary cartoonist, along with pieces about his father and childhood that inform the path in life he has chosen. The resultant effect is a routinely funny (Van Sciver never takes himself too seriously unless it is intended for comedic effect) but also deeply relatable book that touches on some of life’s big questions, whether about the ways we measure happiness or success, the ways we often define ourselves by our careers or ways we can sometimes lose sight of the most important things. Van Sciver displays a love of the history and form of cartooning that recalls Art Spiegelman, a Lynda Barryesque thirst to unpack ideas of what creativity really means, and a Harvey Pekar-like way of just trying to stay alive in the face of despair.