James Romberger is an American artist and cartoonist known for his depictions of New York’s Lower East Side. Romberger’s pastel drawings of the ravaged landscape of the Lower East Side and its citizens are in many public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Brooklyn Museum in New York City.
Delancey St

Delancey St

4th St Nocturne

4th St Nocturne

Ave B Patio

Ave B Patio

Marguerite at 2A

Marguerite at 2A

Latest entries
Reverse-Engineering Fairbanks

Reverse-Engineering Fairbanks

Silent film star Douglas Fairbanks (1883-1939) was hugely popular in his time. He was one of the first performers of whom it could be said that he was less an actor than a star who was considered to be “playing himself.” He was so universally recognized and his audiences’ expectations were so great that in...
Bang Go the Caresses

Bang Go the Caresses

Jean-Luc Godard’s 1964 film Contempt inventively deviates from cinematic convention and probes gender relations while it explores miscommunication between people. The storyline is loosely adapted from a 1954 novel by Alberto Moravia, Il Disprezzo [A Ghost at Noon) and depicts the production of a film-within-a film, a cinematic version of Homer’s classic Odyssey. Multileveled ambiguities...
Genius, Clarified

Genius, Clarified

Greg Sadowski and Fantagraphics’ Setting the Standard is perhaps the best book on Alex Toth that has been published thus far, because it represents the complete body of Toth’s 1950s work for Standard Comics, reproduced as closely as possible to its original printed color form (1). Toth did his art with the intent that it...
Neal Adams: Ultraviolence

Neal Adams: Ultraviolence

  In the seventies, Neal Adams’ realism, comprehensive draftsmanship, hyperkinetic storytelling and page design, sophisticated coloring and in addition his efforts on behalf of creators’ rights marked him as a potent force in American comics. He seemed poised to do something substantial in comics, something that would pull all of his skills together in a...
Illustrated Wallace Stevens: Madame La Fleurie

Illustrated Wallace Stevens: Madame La Fleurie

I recently devoured two of the excellent collections of Milton Caniff’s Terry and the Pirates assembled by Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell for IDW. It seems appropriate to apply my feelings about Caniff’s narratives to a Wallace Stevens poem. The piece shows the difference between illustration and interpretive cartooning. Stevens’ work roils with imagery, but...
Genius, Disempowered

Genius, Disempowered

IDW’s Genius, Isolated is a gorgeous, impressively scaled hardcover with many crisp reproductions from original comic pages. The first of a series of three volumes that are being hailed as the definitive statement on the art of Alexander Toth, it continues the high production standards set by Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell’s previous excellent, essential...
Gene Colan: The Hidden Eye

Gene Colan: The Hidden Eye

In 2008, Steve Cohen asked me to contribute to a magazine to honor Gene Colan, to be entitled Genezine. I took the opportunity to arrange with Gene and his late wife Adrienne to tape an interview. We met at a pizza joint in midtown Manhattan while they waited for an appointment Gene had at a...
Charles Schulz: High Anxiety

Charles Schulz: High Anxiety

The following was originally done as a presentation for Art Spiegelman’s seminar, “Comix: Marching Into the Canon” at Columbia University in 2007. I think it suited Art’s humor to assign me to do the required audio-visual presentation on a cartoonist we both perceived as far from my usual range of interest. He certainly did me...
"Then Protest!"

“Then Protest!”

  François Truffaut’s films are most often analyzed in terms of their cinematic structure and the interpersonal relationships of their stories, and these qualities do account for a good part of their appeal. His films are not considered particularly political in the context of his contemporaries of the French New Wave. However, Truffaut does critique...
Toth, Internalized

Toth, Internalized

Since I am precisely the type of brutally obsessive yet overly sensitive observer that qualifies me to write for The Hooded Utilitarian, I am unable to ignore a few references I have seen online to my “fannish adoration” of the work of genius cartoonist Alex Toth. Answering them also gives me the opportunity to address...
Toth vs. Kubert

Toth vs. Kubert

In “Man of Rock,” Bill Schelly’s recent biography of Joe Kubert, the well-respected graphic novelist and former DC editor says that he and Alex Toth knew each other well from “way, way back” in the 1940s when they were teenaged cartoonists. Kubert is two years older than Toth, which may have seemed like a lot...
The Crisis of the Collaborative Cartoonist

The Crisis of the Collaborative Cartoonist

Thought forms in the mind as a combination of word and image. For that reason, cartooning is a direct, intimate means to communicate subjective thought to a reader. This is why many of the greatest comics are by artists who write their own narratives. Still, it is rare that a single person can both draw...