Frank Santoro's Pittsburgh & Ogden Whitney's Return to Romance

Monday October 7: 7:30PM 8:30PM

Buy a copy of Pittsburgh, a copy of Return to Romance, or a $15 gift card in-store to attend. This event will take place in the 2nd floor photography section of the Strand's main store at 828 Broadway (at 12th Street).

Doors open 30 minutes before showtime.

Join us for a double book launch celebration, featuring the work of Ogden Whitney and Frank Santoro!

Frank Santoro's Pittsburgh is the story of a family, and a city. Santoro faces a straightforward yet heart-rending reality: his parents, once high-school sweethearts, now never speak to each other—despite working in the same building. Stuck in the middle, he tries to understand. Using markers, pencils, scissors, and tape, with a variety of papers, drawing in vivid colors and exuberant lines, Santoro constructs a multi-generational retelling of their lives. Framed by his parents’ courtship and marriage, and set amid the vital but fading neighborhood streets, the pages of Pittsburgh are filled with details both quotidian and dramatic—from his childhood mishaps to his father’s trauma in Vietnam—interspersed throughout with the mute witness of the family dog, Pretzel.

Ogden Whitney was one of the unsung masters of American comics. He is perhaps best remembered for co-creating the satirical superhero Herbie Popnecker, also known as the Fat Fury, but his romance comics of the late 1950s and 1960s may be even more unique. In Whitney’s hands, the standard formula of meet-cute, minor complications, and final blissful kiss becomes something very different: an unsettling vision of midcentury American romance as a devastating power struggle, a form of intimate psychological warfare dressed up in pearls and flannel suits. From suburban lawns and offices to rocket labs and factories, his men and women scheme and clash, dominate and escape. It is darkly hilarious, truly terrifying—and yes, occasionally even a bit romantic.

Join us on the second floor as Frank Santoro talks with writer/editor Dan Nadel and The New Yorker's Naomi Fry!

Frank Santoro is the author of Pompeii and Storyville. He taught drawing at Parsons School of Design and his comics have been exhibited at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York and at the Fumetto comics festival in Switzerland. Today, he runs a school for comic book makers. He lives in Pittsburgh.

Dan Nadel is a writer, editor, and curator. He is the author and editor of several books, including The Collected Hairy Who Publications; Art Out of Time: Unknown Comic Visionaries, 1900–1969; Gary Panter; Art in Time: Unknown Comic Book Adventures, 1940–1980; and Dorothy and Otis: Designing the American Dream. Nadel was the co-editor of The Comics Journal from 2011 through 2017, and has published essays and criticism in Art in America, The New York Review of Books, and Artforum.

Naomi Fry is a staff writer at The New Yorker, where she writes about popular culture, books, and art.

Ogden Whitney was a writer and comic book artist who was most active between the late 1930s and the late 1960s. He is best known for his cult hit Herbie comics series, a superhero satire about a fat boy with superpowers. He also drew crime, sci-fi, adventure, and Western-themed comics. In 2007, he was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame.

Can't make the event but still want a book? Pre-order a signed copy of Frank Santoro's Pittsburgh here! Or pre-order a copy of Ogden Whitney's Return to Romance here!