On History: Larry Gonick?

By | Tuesday, June 28, 2016 3 comments
Larry Gonick is, of course, best known for his The Cartoon History of the Universe books which he began as pamphlet comics in 1978, migrating to a collected book format in 1990. Gonick has also done The Cartoon Guide to U.S. History and two volumes of The Cartoon History of the Modern World. And in between all that, he's also managed to create Cartoon Guide books for genetics, physics, statistics, chemistry, algebra, calculus, sex, the environment, communication, and computers.

I recall Gonick getting a fair amount of press back in the 1980s for his books. Part of the wave of independent comics that were getting attention at the time. The books were smart, witty, and conveyed often complex ideas in a fairly easy-to-digest manner. Although Gonick was by no means the first person to create educational comics, a lot of people seemed to treat him as if he did.

But at some point, he seemed to fall out of favor. Not that I've ever heard anyone disparage him, but I can't recall the last time I saw his name come up. At all.

And it's not like he retired or stopped making comics or anything. He had his own webcomic from 2009-2011. He was the staff cartoonist at Muse until 2015. His The Cartoon Guide to Algebra came out last year. He's still producing solid works, and yet I've heard zero press about him. At all.

So what's the deal? Why is being ignored by the comics press? I mean, I get that they tend to focus on Marvel and DC stuff, sure, but nothing at all? Really?
Newer Post Older Post Home


Johanna said...

The first answer to "why didn't (site) run (X)" is usually that X wasn't sent to them. I reviewed The Cartoon Guide to Algebra because I was offered and accepted a review copy. I suspect that the marketing department didn't reach out to what you're lumping as "the comics press", perhaps because they were targeting more traditional book markets and sites.

I suspect it might also be a mental thing. Once his History of the.. books were over, they decided he was done. I don't think they viewed Larry as being the typical creative type with other stories to tell.

Square Comix said...

I think a lot of 'old-timers' get forgotten by the press. I have all his history books, and actually reread the fourth two weeks back. I still love it! But I think it's easy to take these reliable artists for granted.

I feel the same way about Seth. His last three Palookaville books were stunning, and I can't remember seeing any press for any, except in D&Q press releases.