non-fiction comics

paglia 1995 ©j abelMy first non-fiction comic was an assignment to cover a talk by Camille Paglia in 1994 from the inimitable Jorge Colombo, then art director at the NewCity, a free tabloid in Chicago. Jorge had seen a short-lived experiment with reportage in comics in the New Yorker, and wanted to try something like it. I was not a reporter. But I had been on the school newspaper in high school, and I was trained by John Reque! So I dove in. I can’t say my initial forays were perfect, but eventually I got my footing. I worked off and on for the NewCity (for Jorge, and later Marc Spiegler), began a six-year series of one-page comics for the University of Chicago Magazine called Chicagophile, and did a number of features for other venues such as the Baffler, the New Art Examiner, the LA Weekly, and even Playboy.com. My longest and most ambitious non-fiction work to date is the 32-page Radio: an Illustrated Guide, about the radio show This American Life, and how it gets made.

I’m currently at work on a huge new project about radio called Out on the wire: Ira Glass and radio’s new masters of story. Follow and/or subscribe to keep up with news on this project.

I plan to gradually make most of the older short work available here. Check the menu to the left to see what’s been posted, or look on the main menu under work > bookshelf.