Between 1956 and 1966, Jules Feiffer drew a satirical comic strip (initially called Sick, Sick, Sick) for The Village Voice.  All the strips have been reprinted in a volume titled The Explainers, which I’m working my way through.  I read a lot of them originally in the 60s, when they started to be collected in paperback editions.

Reading them today, I’m struck by how relevant they remain.  The specific cultural references have dated, but the issues — unpopular wars, political hypocrisy, insufferable hipsterism, manic consumerism and discombobulated gender relations — are depressingly au courant.


They chart the Age Of Anxiety as it transformed into the Age Of Hysteria, neither all that different from the current Age Of Hysterical Anxiety.  Their wit seems as sharp as ever — not always the case with satire as it ages — and their insights as acute.

Click on the images to enlarge.


  1. Ah, Lloyd, you’re taking me back today. One of my favourite Feiffer items was the lament of a guy listing how he’d assumed all the trappings and attitudes of the beatnik world but still hadn’t quite made it. In the final frame he laments:

    “Why can’t I be a non-conformist like everyone else?”

    He also wrote that wonderful play ‘Little Murders’, which was hilariously funny for the first act, then completely threw the audience by having a second act of Albee-ish dark intensity.

    • Actually, I think the strip I referred to might’ve been in another Feiffer book called ‘Beat, Beat, Beat’ (?)

      • All the “Village Voice” strips are collected in this new book “The Explainers”. In 9th grade I got the idea of doing some of the strips as black-out sketches for a school variety show. They worked wonderfully well as dramatic texts. As you say of “Little Murders”, a strange mix of the hilariously funny and the intensely dark.

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