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Ethan Persoff

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Ethan Persoff
Born (1974-11-22) November 22, 1974 (age 47)
Denver, Colorado
Area(s)Cartoonist, Writer, Artist
Notable works
Teddy, The Pogostick

Ethan Persoff (born November 24, 1974 in Denver, Colorado) is an American cartoonist,[1] archivist, and sound artist.[2] His work as an archivist includes a complete digitization of Paul Krassner's counterculture magazine The Realist,[3] and the website Comics with Problems, which has been featured on multiple segments of The Rachel Maddow Show.[4][5] As a comics artist, he has been published by Fantagraphics,[6] and received media attention for his website projects, including two projects with artist and co-collaborator Scott Marshall; a downloadable Halloween mask based on Senator Larry Craig and a Tijuana Bible based on George W. Bush and John McCain.[7][8]

The Larry Craig Halloween Mask,[9] a downloadable paper mask designed to be fit over a paper bag, received widespread media attention, including Air America, CBS News, and the Washington papers Politico and Roll Call.[10] Other satires on Persoff's website include an entire cosmetic line of Sarah Palin lipstick,[11] and an audio piece of an angered Mitt Romney supporter blended with orchestral music that went quickly viral on the Internet until being forced offline.[12]

From 2009 through 2011, Persoff served as art director for Barney Rosset's Evergreen Review. While working for the magazine, he also contributed two pieces of writing, a profile of the beat poet recording project Paris Records[13] and a report on George W Bush's first post-presidential appearance as a motivational speaker, entitled "A Day Spent In Hell."[14]

Since 2013, Persoff has been working on a comics biography with Scott Marshall of underground journalist John Wilcock. The strip is serialized on the website Boing Boing,[15] and has been recognized by Print,[16] The New Yorker[17] and New York magazines.[18]

Archival Work

Persoff's website is recognized for its archive of scanned files of rare and unusual comics. The available titles on the site vary from the mundane, such as travel comics and educational booklets, to the disturbing, including comics that focus on drug use and racism. Socially conscious work is included as well, including a scan of the 1957 comic book Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story. In 2006, Persoff acquired an original copy of the comic (indicating only a handful of copies were then known to exist), scanned it, and posted it on his blog for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.[19] In 2008, Persoff reported that the Cairo director of the American Islamic Congress (AIC) had translated the scanned comic into Arabic and Persian. The AIC's HAMSA (Hands Across the Mideast Support Alliance) initiative printed 2,500 copies of the translated comic, distributing them throughout Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Yemen.[20] When the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 broke out, U.S. Representative John Lewis spoke on MSNBC, stating "over 200,000 copies have been translated into Arabic and distributed through Egypt," and credited the mass-distribution of the 50-year-old comic as a contributing element in the Egyptian protests.[21][20] Persoff mentioned the scanning and uploading of the document, and its subsequent role as source images for a peace campaign, to be "a good story about the value of putting things online, waiting 5-10 years, and seeing where they end up."[21]

Notable Works





Archival Projects


  1. ^ "A By-No-Means-Comprehensive List of Austin Comics Writers and Artists".
  2. ^ "Free Music Archive - Ethan Persoff".
  3. ^ "The Realist Archive is Now Complete".
  4. ^ "Rachel Maddow Show, July 14, 2010 'Don't ask, Don't tell' illustrated".[dead link]
  5. ^ "Rachel Maddow Show, July 21, 2010 Review of the George Wallace segregation comic".[dead link]
  6. ^ "Fantagraphics Books - Ethan Persoff". Archived from the original on 2013-11-11. Retrieved 2013-11-11.
  7. ^ "The 1934 George Bush John McCain Tijuana Bible".
  8. ^ "Bush-McCain 'Tijuana Bibles' at the Democratic National Convention".
  9. ^ "U.S. Senator Larry Craig Paper Bag Mask".
  10. ^ "Larry Craig Halloween Mask, Media Report".
  11. ^ "The Sarah Palin Lipstick Collection".
  12. ^ "Angry 'Obama Was Re-Elected' Woman Gets An Orchestra To Accompany Rant".
  13. ^ "Ladies and Gentlemen, Paris Records - Conversations with Michael Minzer and Hal Willner". Archived from the original on 2013-12-07. Retrieved 2013-11-11.
  14. ^ "A Day Spent in Hell - Getting Motivated at Bush's First Public Appearance as Motivational Speaker". Archived from the original on 2013-02-08. Retrieved 2013-11-11.
  15. ^ "John Wilcock Comics on Boing Boing".
  16. ^ "Print Magazine profiling John Wilcock".
  17. ^ "New Yorker Bookbench, November 21, 2011".
  18. ^ "The Approval Matrix: Week of November 21, 2011 - New York Magazine".
  19. ^ Persoff, Ethan. "The 1956 International Bilingual Dr Martin Luther King Jr Comic Book Message," Ethan Persoff's blog (early January 2006).
  20. ^ a b Persoff, Ethan. "HOW EP.TC IS UNINTENTIONALLY CONTRIBUTING TO WORLD PEACE," Ethan Persoff's blog (March 27, 2008).
  21. ^ a b Persoff, Ethan. "OUR WEBSITE'S WORK USED IN WIDE-SPREAD EGYPTIAN PEACE CAMPAIGN" Ethan Persoff blog (February 3–15, 2011).
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Ethan Persoff
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