“Campbell’s book is not just a study but actually offers the best of two worlds: it defends a new and original take on comics, but it also reveals a corpus. . . that current scholarship and publishing policies have not yet proved able to fully acknowledge.” —Image & Narrative
The Goat Getters is a rip-roaring narrative of the origin of the comic strip told from a new perspective by one of the leading cartoon storytellers of our time. It features a wild bunch of early twentieth-century cartoonists based on the West Coast, including Jimmy Swinnerton, Tad Dorgan, George Herriman, and Rube Goldberg, whose domain was the sports and lurid crime pages, where they fashioned a bold, tough style, invented their own goofy slang that enriched the popular lexicon (to which the title of the book refers), and created characters such as Silk Hat Harry and the indomitable Krazy Kat.
This exhaustively researched book is also an account, shown through original newspaper cartoons of the era, of the subjects of those cartoons: the landmark 1910 boxing match in Reno, Nevada, between Jim Jeffries, the “Great White Hope,” and Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight champion; the nationwide race riots that followed; the San Francisco graft trials that culminated in the shooting of the federal prosecutor; and the trial of Harry Thaw for the murder of architect Stanford White, a crime of passion that centered on Thaw’s wife, showgirl Evelyn Nesbitt Thaw, whose beauty was celebrated by cartoonist Nell Brinkley.
Campbell also shows how these early cartoons developed the kind of dynamic anatomy and recurring characters that continue to influence comics and graphic novels today.
Publishers Weekly calls Eddie Campbell “one of the premier cartoonists of his generation.” Campbell has been writing and drawing comics since 1974, and is best known for his collaborations with Alan Moore (From Hell, A Disease of Language) and Neil Gaiman (The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains), as well as for Alec, his tour-de-force autobiographical series that Booklist called “a high-water mark in the graphic novel’s short history,” and the 1200-page epic Bacchus. Forthcoming is Bizarre Romance (in collaboration with Audrey Niffenegger).