New York cartoonist Josh Neufeld '89 received a request from his
editor to contribute to the September 11 emergency aid effort, he
did what came naturally: he drew a comic book story. Neufeld's words
and illustrations are featured in 9-11: Emergency Relief,
a collection of more than 80 cartoonists' non-fiction accounts of
their experiences following the tragedy.
"I wanted to tell my story in an interesting way," says
Neufeld, who had stumbled across a group singing peace songs in
Manhattan a week after the attacks. Their dirge-like rendition of
"New York, New York" sparked the idea for which he'd been
Set to the lyrics of the legendary show tune
(written by Obie John Kander '51 and Fred Ebb), the three-page comic
recounts Neufeld's immediate response to the attacks, including
a poignant street-side reunion with his wife, Sari Wilson '90. "In
using the song to frame my own experiences, I found all sorts of
parallels," he says. "Most of all, I saw new meanings
in it, how the lyrics could be so sad. It's not only the triumphant
anthem we normally associate it with."
Delighted with the project's success, Neufeld
says the anthology has been a hot seller since its January release
and may generate more than $100,000 in profits earmarked for the
American Red Cross.
Neufeld can't remember a time when he didn't
draw comics. He attempted his first full-length project at age 5;
by high school, he had created entire fantasy worlds. But as an
art history student at Oberlin, Neufeld steered away from the world
of superheros to rediscover comics as a broad artistic and literary
medium that could pertain to real issues.
"Comics can be about anything," he
says. "They have a unique ability to connect with people."
Since 1994, Neufeld's work has been widely published individually
and in collaboration with other artists and writers. He is probably
best known for his comic, Keyhole, which ran from 1996 to 1999,
and for his illustrations in Titans of Finance, a satirical
comic that critiques the financial world. Other projects on the
drawing table include a full-length collection of stories that recount
his backpacking adventures in Southeast Asia.
--Matt Greenfield '02