Silver Jew Is Genius Cartoonist, Or Not
Singer-turned-illustrator David Berman releases cartoon book, to mixed reviews
Silver Jews frontman David Berman elicited indie tears earlier this year when he announced he was quitting his band to pursue other endeavors. He’d made his name as a member of Pavement; in the Silver Jews, he was known for literary, angst-ridden lyrics. In recent years, he’s overcome addiction, at least in part by embracing religion. “I pray,” he told the site MonsterFresh recently. “Judaism helped me to get sober.” Now, Berman—already a published poet—has put his graphite stick where his mouth is with The Portable February, a book of cartoons. Reviews are mixed. Pitchfork called the collection “absolutely ridiculous”, while Magnet Magazine called it genius. This week, novelist and critic Ed Park is praising the work, all but anointing Berman the heir to influential French literary theorist Roland Barthes. “In drawing after drawing, sign and signifier get tantalizingly tangled,” Park says. You be the judge: Pitchfork has images from the book.
Silver Jew David Berman’s Book of Cartoons, Revealed [Pitchfork]
Book Review: David Berman’s “The Portable February”
The Pure Products of America Go Crazy [Poetry Foundation]
Previously: Silver Lining [Tablet]