Fantagraphics has just published "Explainers," a collection of Jules Feiffer's first decade (1956-1966) of cartoons for the Village Voice. The New York Times Book review devotes its cover review to the anthology, and the Times has put up a slideshow of representative drawings from the book.
Feiffer's work for the Voice was genre-changing. He brought adult sensibilities into the comics, mixed elements of theater and dance with cartoons, interwove the personal and the political, and freed cartoon drawing from both the literal and the cute.
A whole generation of cartoonists was awakened by Feiffer's use of comic pacing and language, most notably Garry Trudeau but also editorial cartoonists like Tom Toles, Tony Auth, Joel Pett and yours truly. Feiffer was one of the hidden pleasures of my adolescence. I pored over my parents' copy of "Sick,Sick, Sick", one of Feiffer's early collections. I discovered that adults were just as neurotic as kids and that neurosis could be funny. I identified completely within Feiffer's anti-hero, Bernard Mergendeiler. And I secretly harbored fantasies of one day growing up to be a... cartoonist. Without Jules and MAD magazine, my teenage years would have been a much lonelier place.