Invisible Ink: My Mother’s Love Affair With A Famous Cartoonist
by Bill Griffith
I have been a fan of Bill Griffith for forty years. I first discovered his work in underground comics like Arcade, and then became a fan of his creation, Zippy The Pinhead. It was in a Zippy comic that I got for Christmas in 1978 (I had cool parents) that I was first exposed to the pretzel-logic of Alfred Jarry. So when I heard that, after all these years, Griffith was creating his first long-form work, I had to have a copy. I’m going to quote from the publisher’s blurb now:
“This is the renowned cartoonist’s first long-form graphic work ― a 200-page memoir that poignantly recounts his mother’s secret life, which included an affair with a cartoonist and crime novelist in the 1950s and ’60s. Invisible Ink unfolds like a detective story, alternating between past and present, as Griffith recreates the quotidian habits of suburban Levittown and the professional and cultural life of mid-century Manhattan in the 1950s and ’60s as seen through his mother’s and his own then-teenage eyes. Griffith puts the pieces together and reveals a mother he never knew. Black & white illustrations throughout.”
That is a perfect description of what Invisible Ink is. To delve any further into the plot would do the work and any potential reader a great disservice. Griffith is a master of graphic story-telling. His art perfectly suits the subject matter without sacrificing his distinct style, and the tale moves so well that you’d never know that this was his first long-form work.
Invisible Ink: My Mother’s Love Affair With A Famous Cartoonist is an engrossing story for adult readers who appreciate the comic book form. It’s an amazing artistic statement. The retail price is $29.99, but most booksellers will have it at a discount.