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  • Writer's pictureJay Abel

THE NEW LAST WORD

“The last Word” was my 2nd graphic novel, for lack of a better term, penned in 2007, though it is, in fact, just a long chain of vignettes, linked by a common theme in the manner of ancient Greek epitaphs, the final rumination by or about those who have passed, along with their visage. It was published, limited edition, in both 2008 and 2013, but I was not very happy with either run.


In 2021 I drew yet another revision and this I now offers to the Lulu bookstore having exhausted the patience of all other publishers.



After almost 15 years of sporadic labor on this little book I’m pretty done with it, and this version is probably as final as it will ever be. Some of the ideas originated far back as 1997, or as recently as 2021, and so this collection has turned out to be something of an unintentional retrospective, for better or worse.

It also had the benefit of an outstanding introduction by Thomas Larson, a nationally respected writer and critic, and my good friend. His fine introduction is to be found under the review section of my website.


All 86 epitaphs are illustrated in “chiaroscuro drawing” on toned paper, it was my favored media for many years on account of its affinity to the early renaissance and to antique sculpture.


I have venerated both for many years.

That being said, most of these images were also defined, in part, by MAD magazine. Visual quotes from Mort Drucker and Jack Davis turn up everywhere. MAD was my visual bible in the middle 60s, as a reclusive adolescent, and the mark it left never really faded. Folding that sort of thing into ancient Greek funerary sculpture may be called either provocative and unexpected or maybe just silly. I like the solidity of ancient sculpture but I threw away the idealism, which is in conflict with the book’s intent. At their best I may only hope my portraits are sad, certain, and informed by the character depicted.


Perhaps they are only caricatures. I shall trust the reader to decide.

As I explained in my introduction there is “an informal philosophical history of the American people '' encrypted into my selections. I don’t think it’s giving away the game to call it an overview of Americans' long, rocky journey from almighty god to resigned nihilism.

It might be the book's most interesting angle, and one of the things I developed in the course of many revisions.

88 illustrations, 92 pages B/W - Click the "Online Bookstore" button on my homepage for a copy. $11 plus ship.

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