Jeet Heer

  • culture August 03, 2012

    Blown Covers: New Yorker Covers You Were Never Meant To See by Françoise Mouly

    Editing The New Yorker is a little like being a controlled demolitions expert. In both jobs, you are entrusted with valuable, long-standing structures and explosive material, and given the responsibility of ensuring that targets are properly selected, and that explosions leave no collateral damage. This characterization may raise the eyebrows of anyone who automatically dismisses the weekly magazine as a bastion of upper-middle class triviality, the home of tepid and watery poetry, cartoons bafflingly dependant on Manhattan coterie knowledge, short stories that obsessively focus on the minutiae

  • Word Made Fresh

    In the beginning, there was a father who craved respectability; he begat a bad boy who enjoyed shocking polite society. The father was Max Gaines, one of the founders of the American comic-book industry and publisher of the early adventures of the Green Lantern and Wonder Woman. Stung by criticisms that comics were corrupting America’s youth, Max rebranded himself as a purveyor of uplifting material, releasing Picture Stories from the Bible in 1942 and soon thereafter starting a firm called Educational Comics. After Max died in 1947, his wayward, mischief-loving son, Bill, took charge of the


    The noses Jeff Lemire draws don’t just sit in the middle of his characters’ faces, they loom so large as to be unavoidable. These landmarks serve as emblems of both personality and family history. Some possess a beaklike sharpness (aligning their characters with the crows that make regular appearances in these books), while others are as blocky as ice cubes—not surprising, given that Lemire’s stories are set in Southern Ontario and feature men and boys who love hockey. Cartooning at its liveliest and most expressive, is rarely about delineating faces with photographic accuracy. The great