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Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary by Michael Schumacher & Denis Kitchen


Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary by Michael Schumacher & Denis Kitchen
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    AL CAPP: A Life to the Contrary
    By Michael Schumacher and Denis Kitchen (Bloomsbury)

    Capp was a prominent public figure in a way that NO other cartoonist can possibly compare, and while, for many, he is a forgotten figure, this remarkable biography brings him back to life.

    Copy autographed by co-author Denis Kitchen (available here only) $30.
    (
    Personalized on request.)

    FREE with book order: 6 FREE POSTCARDS featuring Al Capp and characters
    (available nowhere else!)

    The definitive biography of the most famous and most controversial cartoonist in American history. Al Capp (1910-1977). If you are in the Boomer generation or older you need no “re-Capp” but for younger browsers here are some career highlights and low-lights...

    • Al Capp overcame the loss of a leg at age nine and poverty to quickly become a millionaire during the depths of the Great Depression;
    • His comic strip “Li’l Abner” ran 43 years and at its peak had 90 million readers daily in nearly a thousand newspapers;
    Dogpatch USA in Arkansas made him the only cartoonist besides Walt Disney with a theme park;
    • Li’l Abner was made into two Hollywood movies, a Broadway musical (still reprised), and a radio show;
    • His Shmoo character was a huge merchandising bonanza in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s;
    • Shmoo balloons and candy were dropped over East Berlin by the US Air Force during the Soviet blockade;
    • Capp personally, and his characters, endorsed dozens of brand products in magazine and newspapers ads;
    • When Capp surprisingly married Li’l Abner and Daisy Mae in 1952 their wedding made the cover of LIFE magazine;
    • Capp himself was a cover feature in both TIME and Newsweek magazines and the beneficiary of astonishing non-stop publicity;
    • He resigned from the National Cartoonist Society when it refused to permit a female member;
    • Capp’s long-running and acerbic public feud with Joe Palooka cartoonist Ham Fisher culminated with Fisher’s suicide;
    • Capp was a regular on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight” show and other top TV talk shows over many years;
    • He even had several of his own TV talk and game shows during the medium’s early years;
    • Bitter disputes with his brother (and business manager) resulted in decades long estrangement;
    • Capp was tapped by President Richard Nixon to run for Ted Kennedy’s senate seat in 1970;
    • He became a personal friend and confidant of President Nixon and Vice-President Spiro Agnew prior to the disgrace of all three;
    • He added words to the English lexicon like “double whammy,” “going bananas” and “hogwash”;
    • Li’l Abner was regularly ranked among the most popular strips for decades;
    Sadie Hawkins Day was a national holiday started by Capp, celebrated at its peak on literally hundreds of college campuses;
    • Capp carried on long affairs with Hollywood singers, starlets and the wife of writer William Saroyan;
    • The U.S. Postal service issued a “Li’l Abner” postage stamp in 1995;
    • His curmudgeonly “Bed-In” confrontation with John Lennon & Yoko Ono is memorialized in the Imagine film;
    • During the 60s and 70s he toured campuses, openly berating and antagonizing the students and Vietnam War protesters he loathed;
    • Numerous co-eds claim Capp lured them into locked rooms and attacked them, sometimes hopping naked on his single leg;
    • Famous women who alleged predatory attacks included actresses Grace Kelly and Goldie Hawn;
    Sex scandal headlines, including charges from investigative journalists Jack Anderson and Britt Hume, rocked Capp’s late career,
    • Details of Capp’s sexual predations are fully explored, including victim interviews, for the first time in this biography;
    • Rocked by scandal, bad publicity, and drastically reduced circulation, he retired and and soon died in disgrace.




    AL CAPP: A Life to the Contrary has been
     acclaimed by critics coast-to-coast:



    “. . . a gripping biography, balanced and understated, but unnerving in its account of consuming ambition and corrosive anger.... Fast-paced, fascinating, rich in Boston-based history. It will satisfy the appetites of comic fans and political junkies alike.”
                                                                                                                     
    --Dan Wasserman, Boston Globe

    “Denis Kitchen has a long history with ‘Li’l Abner’: His Kitchen Sink Press is best known for handsomely republishing the strip in multiple volumes. With his co-biographer, Michael Schumacher, Kitchen has ably sketched the life of its creator, a double-whammy entertainer—artist and writer—whose 43-year masterpiece holds a secure place among the few American comic strips that deserve to be called art.”
                                                                                                                 
    --Dennis Drabelle, Washington Post

    “. . . the first biography of a man who was a pop-cultural comet for four decades. . . As Messers. Schumacher and Kitchen’s conscientious account shows, the man who made Dogpatch a metaphor for America was a sad, tormented soul who never could enjoy the gaiety he so freely gave others.”
                                                                                                               
    --Edward Kosner, Wall Street Journal

    “Schumacher, author of Will Eisner: A Dreamer’s Life in Comics, and Kitchen, the influential cartoonist and underground publisher, join forces for this sterling biography of the creator of Li’l Abner. . . In this detailed and insightful biography, the authors do an excellent job of bringing Capp back from obscurity and reminding us how influential and popular the daily comics used to be.
                                                                                                               
    --David Pitt, Booklist (starred review)     
     
    “A controversial TV and radio personality, Capp is the subject of a spicy new biography, Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary. Its authors, veteran biographer Michael Schumacher and underground comics pioneer Denis Kitchen set out to highlight his talents as an artist—but found themselves inevitably also chronicling the man’s dark side.”
                                                                                                                                 
    --Steven Heller, Atlantic

    “Michael Schumacher and underground comics giant Denis Kitchen capture the tumultuous life of a talented, complicated, difficult man, whose satirical strip paved the way for the commentary that Garry Trudeau, among others, delivers in the comics. . . As Schumacher and Kitchen note, the cartoonist was a wonderful storyteller but often not factually reliable. Nonetheless, the adventures of his strapping hero and the other inhabitants of Dogpatch became destination reading for Americans.” [Subsequently added to the paper’s list of Top Ten Books for 2013.]
                                                                                                      
    --Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    “A thorough biography of Capp has long been overdue. Schumacher and Denis Kitchen’s Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary is great, dishy fun, especially as Capp crashes into the biz and then into the American consciousness.”
                                                                                                                      
    --Alan Scherstahl, Village Voice

    “No vernacular artist, and possibly no American humorist, had a bigger following during the 1940s and ‘50s than Al Capp did. That Capp had to be banned from campuses in the late 1960s after repeated sexual assault charges—and that he shifted from New Dealer to anti-peacenik rightwing Republican—almost obliterated the memory of the older satirist. This comprehensive biography recaptures the real thing.”
                                                                                                                   
    --Paul Buhle, Jewish Daily Forward      
     
     
    “The authors expertly create a detailed picture of a man’s life that knocks at the door of Greek tragedy. Step by step they build to his incredible success. Inch by inch we watch amazed as it all begins to fall apart. Ultimately the story that Mr. Schumacher and Mr. Kitchen so finally craft is undone by their subject’s inherent faults.”
                                                                                                  
    --New York Journal of Books

    “. . . a valuable, thorough, and sensitive 300-page biography of this contradictory and deeply troubled individual.”
                                                                                                                                  
    --Michael Dooley, ImPrint

    “An engrossing look into the life of an American luminary as well as the evolution of an art form.”
                                                                                                                                           
    --Publishers Weekly

    “The great strength of Schumacher and Kitchen’s approach to the subject matter is that they adopt an unobtrusive authorial voice throughout, even-handedly juxtaposing the often seemingly contradictory aspects of this complex individual’s layered personality, from his kindness to fellow amputees to his bitter vindictiveness towards those he felt had wronged him. It’s never less than an utterly compelling read, meticulously researched from contemporary accounts and historical sources, and carefully crafted from interviews with family members, professional colleagues and extended acquaintances.”
                                                                                                                           
    --Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier

    “The story of Li’l Abner creator Al Capp, as told in Michael Schumacher and Denis Kitchen’s new biography Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary, has absorbed me for months.”
                                                                                                                                   
    --Edward Tenner, Atlantic

    “. . . an impressive research job.”
                                                                                                                       
    --Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today

    “A warts-and-all biography of the creator of ‘Li’l Abner’. . . both the light and dark sides of the man who made the country both laugh and gag.”
                                                                                                                                                 
    --  Kirkus Reviews

    “Al Capp’s life was long and complex, and 35 years after the death of this master cartoonist, this worthy warts-and-all biography has been released. I flew through this book, fascinated by all its details and by how Capp was both larger than life and smaller than life.”
                                                                                                                            
    --Jason Sacks, Comics Bulletin

    “An authoritative, entertaining biography of one of America’s greatest cartoonists, Al Capp—brilliant, creative and a ‘contrary individual.’”
                                                                                                                          
    --Tom Lavoie, Shelf Awareness

    “Everything about the life and art of Al Capp, creator of the mid-century comic strip masterpiece Li’l Abner, was brash and over the top. . . as Michael Schumacher and Denis Kitchen reveal in their fine new biography, Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary.”
                                                                                                                                         
    --Peter Bagge, Reason

    “[A] remarkable biography, rich in the details of the major events in Capp’s life. . . Capp was one of a handful of genuine trail-blazing newspaper comic strip cartoonists, and he is in the forefront of that small but significant procession.”
                                                                                                                           
    --R. C. Harvey, Comics Journal
    “Schumacher, a biographer of the cartoonist Will Eisner, among others, and Kitchen a former comics publisher and Capp anthologist, know their subject almost too well. Capp’s flaws are thoroughly delineated with a relaxed efficiency.”
                                                                                                                          
    --Andy Webster, New York Times




    Related items: Numerous items related to Al Capp, Li’l Abner and Denis Kitchen are available via Steve Krupp Curio Shoppe. Just type their respective names in our search bar.



                         Next Product >>

    Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary by Michael Schumacher & Denis Kitchen
    AL CAPP: A Life to the Contrary
    By Michael Schumacher and Denis Kitchen (Bloomsbury)

    Capp was a prominent public figure in a way that NO other cartoonist can possibly compare, and while, for many, he is a forgotten figure, this remarkable biography brings him back to life.

    Copy autographed by co-author Denis Kitchen (available here only) $30.
    (
    Personalized on request.)

    FREE with book order: 6 FREE POSTCARDS featuring Al Capp and characters
    (available nowhere else!)

    The definitive biography of the most famous and most controversial cartoonist in American history. Al Capp (1910-1977). If you are in the Boomer generation or older you need no “re-Capp” but for younger browsers here are some career highlights and low-lights...

    • Al Capp overcame the loss of a leg at age nine and poverty to quickly become a millionaire during the depths of the Great Depression;
    • His comic strip “Li’l Abner” ran 43 years and at its peak had 90 million readers daily in nearly a thousand newspapers;
    Dogpatch USA in Arkansas made him the only cartoonist besides Walt Disney with a theme park;
    • Li’l Abner was made into two Hollywood movies, a Broadway musical (still reprised), and a radio show;
    • His Shmoo character was a huge merchandising bonanza in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s;
    • Shmoo balloons and candy were dropped over East Berlin by the US Air Force during the Soviet blockade;
    • Capp personally, and his characters, endorsed dozens of brand products in magazine and newspapers ads;
    • When Capp surprisingly married Li’l Abner and Daisy Mae in 1952 their wedding made the cover of LIFE magazine;
    • Capp himself was a cover feature in both TIME and Newsweek magazines and the beneficiary of astonishing non-stop publicity;
    • He resigned from the National Cartoonist Society when it refused to permit a female member;
    • Capp’s long-running and acerbic public feud with Joe Palooka cartoonist Ham Fisher culminated with Fisher’s suicide;
    • Capp was a regular on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight” show and other top TV talk shows over many years;
    • He even had several of his own TV talk and game shows during the medium’s early years;
    • Bitter disputes with his brother (and business manager) resulted in decades long estrangement;
    • Capp was tapped by President Richard Nixon to run for Ted Kennedy’s senate seat in 1970;
    • He became a personal friend and confidant of President Nixon and Vice-President Spiro Agnew prior to the disgrace of all three;
    • He added words to the English lexicon like “double whammy,” “going bananas” and “hogwash”;
    • Li’l Abner was regularly ranked among the most popular strips for decades;
    Sadie Hawkins Day was a national holiday started by Capp, celebrated at its peak on literally hundreds of college campuses;
    • Capp carried on long affairs with Hollywood singers, starlets and the wife of writer William Saroyan;
    • The U.S. Postal service issued a “Li’l Abner” postage stamp in 1995;
    • His curmudgeonly “Bed-In” confrontation with John Lennon & Yoko Ono is memorialized in the Imagine film;
    • During the 60s and 70s he toured campuses, openly berating and antagonizing the students and Vietnam War protesters he loathed;
    • Numerous co-eds claim Capp lured them into locked rooms and attacked them, sometimes hopping naked on his single leg;
    • Famous women who alleged predatory attacks included actresses Grace Kelly and Goldie Hawn;
    Sex scandal headlines, including charges from investigative journalists Jack Anderson and Britt Hume, rocked Capp’s late career,
    • Details of Capp’s sexual predations are fully explored, including victim interviews, for the first time in this biography;
    • Rocked by scandal, bad publicity, and drastically reduced circulation, he retired and and soon died in disgrace.




    AL CAPP: A Life to the Contrary has been
     acclaimed by critics coast-to-coast:



    “. . . a gripping biography, balanced and understated, but unnerving in its account of consuming ambition and corrosive anger.... Fast-paced, fascinating, rich in Boston-based history. It will satisfy the appetites of comic fans and political junkies alike.”
                                                                                                                     
    --Dan Wasserman, Boston Globe

    “Denis Kitchen has a long history with ‘Li’l Abner’: His Kitchen Sink Press is best known for handsomely republishing the strip in multiple volumes. With his co-biographer, Michael Schumacher, Kitchen has ably sketched the life of its creator, a double-whammy entertainer—artist and writer—whose 43-year masterpiece holds a secure place among the few American comic strips that deserve to be called art.”
                                                                                                                 
    --Dennis Drabelle, Washington Post

    “. . . the first biography of a man who was a pop-cultural comet for four decades. . . As Messers. Schumacher and Kitchen’s conscientious account shows, the man who made Dogpatch a metaphor for America was a sad, tormented soul who never could enjoy the gaiety he so freely gave others.”
                                                                                                               
    --Edward Kosner, Wall Street Journal

    “Schumacher, author of Will Eisner: A Dreamer’s Life in Comics, and Kitchen, the influential cartoonist and underground publisher, join forces for this sterling biography of the creator of Li’l Abner. . . In this detailed and insightful biography, the authors do an excellent job of bringing Capp back from obscurity and reminding us how influential and popular the daily comics used to be.
                                                                                                               
    --David Pitt, Booklist (starred review)     
     
    “A controversial TV and radio personality, Capp is the subject of a spicy new biography, Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary. Its authors, veteran biographer Michael Schumacher and underground comics pioneer Denis Kitchen set out to highlight his talents as an artist—but found themselves inevitably also chronicling the man’s dark side.”
                                                                                                                                 
    --Steven Heller, Atlantic

    “Michael Schumacher and underground comics giant Denis Kitchen capture the tumultuous life of a talented, complicated, difficult man, whose satirical strip paved the way for the commentary that Garry Trudeau, among others, delivers in the comics. . . As Schumacher and Kitchen note, the cartoonist was a wonderful storyteller but often not factually reliable. Nonetheless, the adventures of his strapping hero and the other inhabitants of Dogpatch became destination reading for Americans.” [Subsequently added to the paper’s list of Top Ten Books for 2013.]
                                                                                                      
    --Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    “A thorough biography of Capp has long been overdue. Schumacher and Denis Kitchen’s Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary is great, dishy fun, especially as Capp crashes into the biz and then into the American consciousness.”
                                                                                                                      
    --Alan Scherstahl, Village Voice

    “No vernacular artist, and possibly no American humorist, had a bigger following during the 1940s and ‘50s than Al Capp did. That Capp had to be banned from campuses in the late 1960s after repeated sexual assault charges—and that he shifted from New Dealer to anti-peacenik rightwing Republican—almost obliterated the memory of the older satirist. This comprehensive biography recaptures the real thing.”
                                                                                                                   
    --Paul Buhle, Jewish Daily Forward      
     
     
    “The authors expertly create a detailed picture of a man’s life that knocks at the door of Greek tragedy. Step by step they build to his incredible success. Inch by inch we watch amazed as it all begins to fall apart. Ultimately the story that Mr. Schumacher and Mr. Kitchen so finally craft is undone by their subject’s inherent faults.”
                                                                                                  
    --New York Journal of Books

    “. . . a valuable, thorough, and sensitive 300-page biography of this contradictory and deeply troubled individual.”
                                                                                                                                  
    --Michael Dooley, ImPrint

    “An engrossing look into the life of an American luminary as well as the evolution of an art form.”
                                                                                                                                           
    --Publishers Weekly

    “The great strength of Schumacher and Kitchen’s approach to the subject matter is that they adopt an unobtrusive authorial voice throughout, even-handedly juxtaposing the often seemingly contradictory aspects of this complex individual’s layered personality, from his kindness to fellow amputees to his bitter vindictiveness towards those he felt had wronged him. It’s never less than an utterly compelling read, meticulously researched from contemporary accounts and historical sources, and carefully crafted from interviews with family members, professional colleagues and extended acquaintances.”
                                                                                                                           
    --Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier

    “The story of Li’l Abner creator Al Capp, as told in Michael Schumacher and Denis Kitchen’s new biography Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary, has absorbed me for months.”
                                                                                                                                   
    --Edward Tenner, Atlantic

    “. . . an impressive research job.”
                                                                                                                       
    --Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today

    “A warts-and-all biography of the creator of ‘Li’l Abner’. . . both the light and dark sides of the man who made the country both laugh and gag.”
                                                                                                                                                 
    --  Kirkus Reviews

    “Al Capp’s life was long and complex, and 35 years after the death of this master cartoonist, this worthy warts-and-all biography has been released. I flew through this book, fascinated by all its details and by how Capp was both larger than life and smaller than life.”
                                                                                                                            
    --Jason Sacks, Comics Bulletin

    “An authoritative, entertaining biography of one of America’s greatest cartoonists, Al Capp—brilliant, creative and a ‘contrary individual.’”
                                                                                                                          
    --Tom Lavoie, Shelf Awareness

    “Everything about the life and art of Al Capp, creator of the mid-century comic strip masterpiece Li’l Abner, was brash and over the top. . . as Michael Schumacher and Denis Kitchen reveal in their fine new biography, Al Capp: A Life to the Contrary.”
                                                                                                                                         
    --Peter Bagge, Reason

    “[A] remarkable biography, rich in the details of the major events in Capp’s life. . . Capp was one of a handful of genuine trail-blazing newspaper comic strip cartoonists, and he is in the forefront of that small but significant procession.”
                                                                                                                           
    --R. C. Harvey, Comics Journal
    “Schumacher, a biographer of the cartoonist Will Eisner, among others, and Kitchen a former comics publisher and Capp anthologist, know their subject almost too well. Capp’s flaws are thoroughly delineated with a relaxed efficiency.”
                                                                                                                          
    --Andy Webster, New York Times




    Related items: Numerous items related to Al Capp, Li’l Abner and Denis Kitchen are available via Steve Krupp Curio Shoppe. Just type their respective names in our search bar.


    $30.00