Ben Katchor's picture-stories include Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer, Hotel & Farm, The Jew of New York, The Cardboard Valise, and Shoehorn Technique. He produces a monthly strip for Metropolis magazine. His latest book, Cheap Novelties (Drawn & Quarterly) was published in 2016. He's collaborated with composer Mark Mulcahy on six music-theater shows, most recently The Imaginary War Crimes Tribunal (2014). He was the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin. He is an Associate Professor at Parsons School of Design - The New School in New York City where he directs the Illustration program.
Cheap Novelties is an early testament to Ben Katchor’s extraordinary prescience as both a gifted cartoonist and an astute urban chronicler. Rumpled, middle-aged Julius Knipl photographs a vanishing city -- an urban landscape of low-rent apartment buildings, obsolete industries, monuments to forgotten people and events, and countless sources of inexpensive food. In Katchor’s signature pen and ink wash style, Cheap Novelties is a portrait of what we have lost to gentrification, globalization, and the malling of America that is as moving today as it was 25 years ago.
In 1991, the original Cheap Novelties appeared in an unassuming paperback from the RAW contributor; it would become one of the first graphic novels of the contemporary graphic novel golden age and set the stage for Katchor as he is now regarded– a modern day cartooning genius. Drawn & Quarterly’s 25th anniversary edition will be a deluxe hardcover reformatted to Katchor’s original vision.