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The award-winning cartoonist, playwright, and author delivers a witty, illustrated rendition of his life, from his childhood as a wimpy kid in the Bronx to his legendary career in the arts.
A gifted storyteller who has delighted readers and theater audiences for decades, Jules Feiffer now turns his talents to the tale of his own life.
Plagued by learning problems, a domineering mother, and a debilitating sense of fear, Feiffer embarked on his first cartoon apprenticeship at the age of seventeen, emboldened only by a passion for success and a fortitude for failure. He vividly recalls those transformative years working under the legendary Will Eisner, and later, after he was drafted into the army, his transformation from “smart-ass kid into an enraged satirist.” Backing into Forward also traces Feiffer's love life, from a doomed hitchhiking trip to reclaim his high-school sweetheart to losing his virginity in Greenwich Village and his road to marriage and fatherhood.
At the center of this journey is Feiffer's prolific creativity. In dazzling detail, he recounts the birth of his subversive graphic novella Munro, his entrée into New York's literary salons in the 1960s, collaborations with film greats Mike Nichols, Robert Altman, and Jack Nicholson, and other major turning points. Brimming with wry punch lines, slices of Americana, and pithy social commentary, Backing into Forward charts Feiffer's rise to fame from unlikely beginnings.
“Self-lacerating and hilarious, well written, smart—in short, unfailing Feiffer.” —Peter Matthiessen
"Jules Feiffer has done the unthinkable—he's written a completely honest, tell-it-like-it-is let-it-all-hang-out memoir. But it's totally in character. He's been nailing the bad guys with his pen for decades." —Seymour Hersh
“Can you smile and grit your teeth at the same time? That's what Jules Feiffer's hilarious, savage memoir makes you want to do. Don't miss it.”
“Jules Feiffer, prolific hand and eye behind so many brilliant comics, screenplays, novels, illustrations and now this fine, humane autobiography, remains one of the signature voices of a long era of American satire and dissent, the bridge from Lenny Bruce to The Simpsons.” —Jonathan Lethem
“Jules Feiffer’s original and neurotic voice—expressing the whiny child in every adult and the world-weary sophisticate inside every kid—reinvented comics in the 1950s and made possible what’s now called the ‘graphic novel.’ His engaging new memoir is told in that same witty and perceptive New York cadence, now mellowed and laced with wisdom. He’s an inspiration.” —Art Spiegelman
“For those of us for whom ‘Sick Sick Sick’ was the first glimmer of cool, who fled to the Village Voice for forty years to get his take on our American disasters, and who learned the dark truth about men from Carnal Knowledge, this is the book that finally explains how one guy did all that. Backing into Forward is not only a hilarious memoir by the dazzling, discomfiting comet that is Jules Feiffer, but a rambunctious and vivid cultural history by an American master.” —Honor Moore