Book Reviews – Biography

It pays to chose (carefully) your biographer!  I recently read two quite distinctive and different biographies – Gregory Maguire wrote a wonderful Appreciation of Maurice Sendak (the author of Where the Wild Things Are). He is of course a distinguished author, eminently readable in any form: essay, children, adult. Delighted to find this on our Library shelves.  Then reading a review of “Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: the unconventional story of Bill Watterson and his revolutionary comic strip” by Nevin Martell (2009), I thought I simply must read this (I subscribed to the International Herald Tribune for years simply because they reran the strips!). The Library copy was immediately available (and shortly had a waiting list as I mentioned it to several people).
But, it wasn’t what I was expecting. I respect people’s privacy, and certainly never know what is going on in the tabloids. I was hoping however to have some detailed descriptions of his art, the techniques, some critical commentary into his body of works. I will have to further my research to find those essays which exist, but appear not to have been consulted by Martell. Still, I enjoyed the vignette by Berke Breathed, another of my favourite “comic” writers (with Gary Larson of course; an amazing trio in nearly the same decade). I loved being reminded of some of my favourite episodes with Hobbes, Susie and Calvin. Surprised to learn that the decals and other items are pirated – that he insisted nothing ever be commercialised.

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