Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Josh Neufeld

Josh Neufeld is the writer/artist of the Xeric Award-winning graphic travelogue A Few Perfect Hours (And Other Stories from Southeast Asia & Central Europe). Shortly after Hurricane Katrina, Neufeld spent three weeks as an American Red Cross volunteer in Biloxi, Mississippi. The blog entries he kept about that experience turned into a self-published book, Katrina Came Calling, which in turn led to A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge.

From a Q & A at his publisher's website:

Q: Prior to A.D., what were your past encounters with New Orleans like?

Before Hurricane Katrina, I had very little personal connection to New Orleans, other than the fact that my wife and I had visited the city for about a week in 2003. Like most people, I appreciated New Orleans’ unique cultural, racial, and historical heritage, and that it is the birthplace of jazz and so much other good music. As an American, I knew how important the city was to the identity of the whole country – and how it was all in danger of being lost due to Katrina and the aftermath. Seeing what happened to New Orleans, and the government’s inability (or unwillingness) to respond, lay bare the realities of decades of poverty, discrimination, and government corruption (all of which, of course, are themes in A.D.) Since Katrina, I have visited New Orleans many times, and each time have come to love it more – and admire those who stayed and are attempting to rebuild their lives.

Q: Who are your influences?

My earliest influence is undoubtedly HergĂ©, the creator of Tintin. HergĂ© was the first cartoonist I really “studied,” in the sense that from the age of eight or nine, I read every Tintin book scores of times. Among other things, I think I got my sense of humor and love of globe-spanning travel from the Tintin books.

Another major influence is cartoonist Joe Sacco. He does real, on-the-ground research, and tackles serious issues about the human condition; and he draws beautifully! Books like Palestine and Safe Area Gorazde should be required reading in every world politics course.

I would say my third most important influence is...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue