The protagonist of Peter Kupers graphic novel Stop Forgetting to Remember: The Autobiography of Walter Kurtz is self-centered, pompous, and very whiny, laughs the author. Im self-centered, pompous, and only a little bit whiny. Theres a difference. While parts of the book reach back to Kupers high and horny teen years, much of it centers on the past decade, when he became a father. This period crossed into so many subjects I was interested in addressing, he says. Once I put my toe in the water to talk about personal matters, I couldnt stop.
Kuper, a native Clevelander who now lives in Mexico, has illustrated literary classics (like Kafkas Metamorphosis), penned a childrens book (Theo and the Blue Note), and wrote Mad magazines Spy vs. Spy comic for years. Hes also a regular contributor to The New York Times, Time, and other revered publications. Stop Forgetting to Remember is his most personal work. Once everybody became a character, a certain freedom fell down on me, he says. I didnt want to be stuck with reality, but I cant make up these experiences. The books hilarious tale chronicles Kupers awkward first attempts at scoring with girls (an initial sexual encounter lasts a whopping nanosecond) to juggling fatherhood and work. Comics are a great medium for covering so many different subjects, he says. But there arent too many underground people writing about having kids. Theres also plenty of post-9/11 paranoia, political musing, and other modern fears on display. Theres a certain degree of self-exploration, he says. I found out things along the way while trying to figure out who I was. It became a diary entry with a theme: Dont forget who you were.