Long Story Short: Your Favorite Books as Cartoons
by Mr. Fish and friends
Think about how much easier high school would have been if instead of writing out a 500 or 1000 word essay on an assigned book, you could just submit a simple cartoon that got straight to the point rather than consulting your thesaurus for synonyms of “really” or “very” to increase your word count. Award-winning cartoonist Mr. Fish (Dwayne Booth) has obviously thought about this and recruited a gang of illustrators and cartoonists to create (mostly) one-panel cartoons that capture the essence of a work of literature in Long Story Short: Your Favorite Books as Cartoons. As Fish says in the intro “Each contribution is an attempt to look past the printed page as if it were sheet music and to find the music = and then to play it.”
Naturally, some are more successful than others, but the artists’ ability to communicate with a picture and just a few words conveys the power and directness of the best cartoons. Opening with Tamara Knoss’ three dollar bill illustration of A Catcher in the Rye representing Holden Caufield as The Original Incel is a great introduction to what you’re going to get in Long Story Short. Some artists go for evocative, like Ron Hill’s The Old Man and the Sea, Mr. Fish’s A Room of One’s Own or Gary Dumm’s Invisible Man. Some works are funny, some are gorgeous and could be book covers, like Clare Kolat’s Animal Farm or Mr. Fish’s Slaughterhouse 5.
Themes and motifs get repeated throughout – lots of doves and …buttholes, for some reason, but all the artists are successful in using their different styles to quickly communicate the work’s overall message. As a primer on some upcoming artists, or a reminder of all that assigned reading, Long Story Short: Your Favorite Books as Cartoons will serve as a reminder of the old saw about a picture being worth a thousand words.