Before the rise of underground comics in the late 1960s, there was no place for eccentric talent in the comics industry. Rather than creating super heroes like Superman and Spider-Man, or comic strips like Peanuts, the artists represented in "Art Out of Time" created their own "ingenious" versions of the super hero, western, romance, humour, and horror genres that dominated the comics of their day. All of them were unappreciated in their lifetimes, and all of them remain outside the usual narratives of comic book history. "Art out of Time" reprints complete comic book and comic strip stories. In five thematic sections, this anthology is a counter history of comics, containing nearly thirty undiscovered visionary American cartoonists from 1900 to 1969. These artists, including Robert Crumb, Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, Charles Burns, and Ben Katchor, foreshadowed and influenced the comics medium of today. Together for the first time, these oddballs and obsessives truly constitute an art that is out of our time.
Dan Nadel is a designer and the author of The Ganzfeld, an annual book of pictures and prose.