George Sprott, 1894-1975 By Seth

If I was to provide a succint description vis a vis an analogy to a piece of pop culture to describe this absolutely fantastic work- I would most certainly declare Seth's George Sprott to be the Citzen Kane of graphic novels. Nope, I'm not mincing my words. Not at all. While Orson Well's Kane represents the rise and fall of not soley the eponymous character himself- but more grandiosly- the rise and fall of the very American Dream itself- George Sprott aims somewhat lower (He's Canadian you know. Haha!) but, no doubt, his narrative is any less profound of a study of character- capturing what it means to be human- which in this case (A case we don't talk about in open but a very tangible one that haunts the main character and us every night when we are alone with those very frightening thoughts of personal failures) is to be completely broken.

George Sprott is not just a Citizen Kane (Though the similarities are particularly striking- of a much smaller scale of course). He's much more than that. Take 1/4 a cup of Camus' Mersault from The Stranger, another 1/4 cup of Willy Lowman from Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, a 1/4 cup of Orson Well's Charles Foster Kane, and a 1/4 cup of Everyman Syrup, with a splash of Byronic Hero Sugar- and bake it over the course of 80 years of truly mediocre life, and you'd get something pretty doggone close to the character of George Sprott. He's absolutely despicable, unlikable, and downright nasty- yet we can't turn away- and thus can't help but see our own flaws upon his story through his eyes- and the eyes of his peers. This is Seth's greatest asset and it is absolutely astounding how frightening his ability to manipulate our emotions through this contemptable character.

It's pretty incredible how Seth has been able to create such an incredibly human character that is just so believeable in a mere 96 pages. Similar in scope and versimilutide to Manu Larecents' equally breathtaking Ordinary Victories- (Vol. 1 and 2; If you haven't read either of them DO IT NOW) Seth also focuses on those deep inner failures, struggles, neuroses, and suffocating existential angst and anxiety that plague all self aware sentients- most painfully ourselves- in this frighteningly groundless existential condition. However, while Larecent's story focuses on the youthful conundrums and difficulties of early adulthood- Seth inquires upon a differnt kind of existential angst- one that looks backwards from the mind of an older man- who is all to painfully aware of his failures as he slowly makes his way to an inevitable end that has been on the decline for way to long- making the process even more bitter and corrosive than a presumably preferred abrupt ending would have been. In reading betwixt the lines- maybe there is some wisdom in joining that 27 year old club Seth wants us to ponder. If nothing else, the Jim Morrison's of this world will never have to look back upon their failures- their stars burned too brightly for that- Sprott didn't quite burn so hard and will suffer the agonizing and drawn out decline it effervescently entails.

Like Well's Kane who follows a preciptious ascent of the mountain to to success from a humble and disastrous homelife, Sprott too falls- toward an equally preciptious fall from grace- aggravated and amplified by a snowballing of neuroses and personal failures- leading to that ignominious end anyone in power inevitably fears. While lacking a Declaration of Principles, an abusive household, or a metoric political and financial rise to power- within its context- George Sprott and his life story is just as poignant and difficult to stomach, his failures, his omissions, and continual self-delusion (I'm a good person, I know I am- we've all told ourselves throughout our lives to make us feel better about these failures) is just as helter-skelter. While I'm not sure if Sprott has blisters on his fingers (If you didn't get that joke you should boil your head. Phillistine) his psyche certainly has plenty- from a a household that was not meant to last- a failed future in the Seminary- to an Inuit bastard child- and an adulterous life- we see him live his life just like the rest of us: appearing with a normal and collected fascade- contrasted with a tormented and twisted movie reel of failures- constantly playing in our collective unconsciousness. Plaguing him with those painful unescapable questions: what was- what should have been- what I could have been. Think a bad acid trip with Dicken's Ghost of Christmas Future guiding you along your past- except that there is no Ghost- only your subconcious leading you along constantly reliving your failures- and the trip doesn't end with a ghost leaving- . Nope, this trip is undending. As long as Sprott's nasty life continues- only death can provide a rest from this rustling.

However- it's not just that inescapable mental cinema reel that paints the wretched picture of this tormented character but, the descriptions provided by interviews of his peers (another clear allusion and a tip of the hat to the preliminary character sketches of Charles Foster Kane. As we all too often find out in life- its not so much important how we view ourselves but, how others view us in the social matricies we inevitably inhabit. We see people bitterly criticizing him at worst, occasionally idealize him naively beeming with pride of his jovial visage at best, but usually his character portraits combine a bit mild amount of praise for his stupid aphorisms and dewey-eyed demeanor while derisively enjoying the everyday schadenfreude at his all to public failures (in his case falling asleep on the teleprompter whilst on the air). Co-workers, a niece, a bastard child, and many others all have a wide pallet of experiences and interpretations with which to paint the character of George Sprott- various hues of the brightest and darkest colours all over such an otherwise unremarkable life. Along with the colours of his personal pallet- an incredibly detailed and complex picture of the anti-hero (He sure as hell isn't a protagonist) is painted in less than 100 pages. These tints, and tones, and hues, are important- just as important as the ones you will most definitely choose to makes sense of George Sprott and his remarkably unremarkable life; a life that you will love and despise all the same because there is all a little bit of Sprott in all of us.

2 Big thumbs up. Highly Recomended. 1897299516 Fictional biography of a non-remarkable man with his share of flaws. That is, he is much like the rest of us. Reminds me of 'Clyde Fans' in that respect. HUGE format book, awkward to curl up with, must've been expensive to produce, and perhaps difficult to market (i.e., not easy to display or store efficiently on shelves.) But it's so unique, so cool, this huge yet skinny book, and it allows for entire chapters to be presented on a single page. Amusingly, the narrator breaks the fourth wall, proclaiming himself/herself/itself omniscient but admits to being anything but. Even God isn't privy to all of George Sprott's secrets. Most of the scenes are told not by the omniscient narrator, but instead through the POVs of co-workers, relatives, and others. I liked this book quite a bit. Seth is a pretty interesting artist and story teller. 1897299516 Incredibly sweet and sad lil graphic novel!! All about a sort of curmudgeonly public access radio/TV host on the night of his death, flashing back and forth through his life to show glimpses of secret regrets and failings and private moments of joy, intercut with interviews about him. Gotta read more Seth!! 1897299516 This book should be on the shelf (if you can find one high engough) of anyone who loves this art form. The opening two page spread - in my view one of the most remarkable in comics history- are the floating bodies and egg shaped heads of Sprott the old man about to die and Sprott the baby about to be born- united visually, as only comics can, through Seth's luscious curved drawing style. And this sets the tone for the book: an exploration of mortality, memory, loss, and guilt. That all sounds a bit pompous, but it really works and left me deeply moved. Seth is one of the best current comic artist/writers and this is by far his best work to date (especially welcome after the somewhat trite Wimbledon Green). The large book format is thrilling to hold and read (and a very reasonable price. You feel you can swim into this book, which is entirely appropriate to the double page wide arctic landscapes. 1897299516 The long life of a forgotten television star of the mid-20th century. Presented in vignettes of George Sprott's life interspersed with interviews of people with some connection with Sprott and a telling of the last day of his life. An inventive (and huge format) graphic novel that lets Seth have some fun. 1897299516

Seth ã 9 characters

First serialized in The New York Times Magazine “Funny Pages”

The celebrated cartoonist and New Yorker illustrator Seth weaves the fictional tale of George Sprott, the host of a long-running television program. The events forming the patchwork of George’s life are pieced together from the tenuous memories of several informants, who often have contradictory impressions. His estranged daughter describes the man as an unforgivable lout, whereas his niece remembers him fondly. His former assistant recalls a trip to the Arctic during which George abandoned him for two months, while George himself remembers that trip as the time he began writing letters to a former love, from whom he never received replies.

Invoking a sense of both memory and its loss, George Sprott is heavy with the charming, melancholic nostalgia that distinguishes Seth’s work. Characters lamenting societal progression in general share the pages with images of antiquated objects—proof of events and individuals rarely documented and barely remembered. Likewise, George’s own opinions are embedded with regret and a sense of the injustice of aging in this bleak reminder of the inevitable slipping away of lives, along with the fading culture of their days. George Sprott, 1894-1975

This book is really pretty, and it smells very nice. Yeah, so sometimes I sniff the books that I read, yeah it's a little weird, but with this book you can't help missing the smell, it's just so goddamn big that the smell hits you, it's a good smell of ink and paper though (some books don't smell nice, and I'm not talking about stinky mildew infested used ones, but some new books just smell like shit). And because the book is so fucking big reading it made me feel like a little kid sitting and reading a picture book. Being slightly neurotic about damaging books while I read them, that made for some difficulty, but all and all I made it through reading this book without too many instances of having to check to make sure I wasn't hurting the spine, the wrap-around thing on the back cover, or getting the corners or pages messed up at all.

Contentwise I also enjoyed this book, it's a more likable book than It's a Good Life... and the design is a notch above his previous books, but this one didn't quite grab me the same way his misanthropic autobiographical writing did. Still it's got everything you would want from Seth, a fascination with the past, Canadian things, vaguely unlikable characters. I don't know what else to say. Did I mention it smells nice too?

1897299516 Obra de arte. Para mí, Seth es el único que juega en la misma liga que Chris Ware. 1897299516 I think the conception of this is awesome. Having just read Building Stories by his close friend and mentor Chris Ware, I see a conversation across texts. Both are works that look to explode story representation, in various ways. We have this large book format from Seth (as with Ware and his box of variously formatted books and magazines and posters in Building Stories), as he tries to capture a mundane (not an exciting or famous or important life [as Ware does with his three women in Building Stories]), just a normal person, whom we see is essentially forgotten even within the very industry (local Canadian tv nature show on the Arctic) he worked in for decades. Not a saint by any means, essentially boring and self centered as a person; so the challenge is: How do you represent such a life? (You might even ask why?!).

Seth also wrote a precursor to this book about Sprott, where Sprott figures in as a minor character, Wimbledon Green, a funny story about the quirky, self-involved world of comic book collectors. There Seth credits Ware with providing a model for representing a life in fragments, and while Wimbledon Green was funnier, this book is more ambitious, a life represented by multiple interview fragments from family and friends and colleagues, a page on the tv station's shows on the day he died, images of his various relationships with women, pictures of the vast snowy Arctic he apparently loved and made films traveling to over the years. We see his cold relationships with his mother, his wife and those various women, his one child fathered with an Inuit woman he never saw again.

Sprott is not a guy you like in the FB sense, but the challenge of making such a story is something Seth makes interesting, and the success of the enterprise depends on his signature nostalgia for the always fading past, for all that gets lost that collectors (and we have them speaking in this book) learn to value, the artifacts of a fleeting, always-already gone past.

Why read it? Gorgeous art, brilliantly drawn, great dialogue. Why? For an example of how to write a biography from fragments, not a smooth, seemingly seamless narrative as too many biographies are, a sort of hybrid work of a complex man. The image of the lost child haunts the story and is touching, in spite of the fact that we can't quite see how it touches the aloof Sprott. A forum on storytelling, how to tell a story, by a master. And very much of a piece with the over-all purpose of his work, to shine a light on every-day, small-town characters, a project including his 20-year project released this year, 2019, Clyde Fans, about a small town Ontario fan salesman. 1897299516 Porque, al final, ¿qué es una vida?: ¿los recuerdos que otros tienen sobre ti?¿los objetos que dejas atrás?¿tus aventuras?¿tus desventuras?¿lo último que piensas el día que mueres?¿lo que piensas cada mañana al despertarte? ¿tus remordimientos?...

Maravilloso. Soberbio. Nada que pueda decir va a hacerle justicia.
Compradlo, leedlo. 1897299516 So obviously Seth's artwork is very charming, and that's the main appeal of the book. The large size gives him a lot of room to work with and the variety of tones and layouts he uses really pay off. Seth is unquestionably a great cartoonist. He is not much of a writer. The entire concept of the work, looking at an old man in the hours leading up to his death while jumping to different points in his life and seeing that he's made a lot of mistakes and is maybe not such a great guy after all, is very cliched and very done to death already. It just seems like an easy way to tug the reader's heartstrings and it's full of cheap and maudlin sentimentality (especially the ending and epilogue, which Seth seems to think are knockout blows, just seem incredibly obvious and trite). And the device of having a hesitant/unsure narrator who is constantly correcting himself is ok in theory, but the execution here screams creative writing 101 assignment. But sometimes he pulls it off. There are some segments that are genuinely moving and not cheap, and Seth's story telling makes it all seem a bit more interesting than it really is. And the whole thing is a treat to look at. Call it a low 3 stars.

I remember reading somewhere that Art Spiegelman said that the truest form of comics is to have one person do everything; the art and the writing. That's the thinking that leads to comics like these. Being a talented cartoonist in no ways qualifies you as a good writer. Sure, there are plenty of people that do both very well, but there are lots that can't. And so we're left with many quality cartoonists doing nicely drawn but poorly written comics about serious subjects that get praised to death by the underground comics crowd because these creators seems like they are justifying the art form with their serious works. This is also the crowd that is quick to deride the mainstream comics system of having separate writers and separate artists (not to mention inkers, letterers, etc). But I'd certainly rather see the work of a talented writer paired with a talented artist than see another cartoonist with no conception of how to assemble a quality, artistic narrative cobble together another masterpiece. 1897299516

George