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Norman Pettingill: Backwoods Humorist (Hardcover)
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Norman Pettingill is a true underground cartoonist, known and admired by a small coterie of cartooning connoisseurs, but completely unknown in the wider world. Norman Pettingill was a self-taught artist from Northern Wisconsin, and in 1947, at the age of 51, he created hundreds of pen-and-ink drawings, marketing many of them as uniquely over-sized at 7" x 10" postcards, printing and distributing them himself. He combined a gift for the fine detail and verisimilitude of illustration with the visual exaggeration and outrageous wit of cartooning. By merging his fascination with nature and backwoods culture with his wild sense of humor, he depicted an out-of-control hillbilly wonderland. Pettingill's world is reminiscent of Al Capp's Li'l Abner comic strip, but Pettingill's hillbilly heaven is made grittier and more tangible by his obsessive penwork and the attention he gives to each teetering outhouse, etc. He reveled in exposing the commercialization of outdoor activities, debunking the romance of a woodsman's life, and demythologizing the expertise of the outdoorsman. His landscapes and drawings of wild animals could be breathtakingly wondrous, and even his most grotesque depictions of hillbillies were fused with a love and respect for the rituals of a primitive life in the boondocks