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 twenty-five 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 and Quarterly’s 25th anniversary edition will be a deluxe hardcover reformatted to Katchor’s original vision and will feature a new cover.
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