Calendar » Get Out

Win, Lose, and Draw

Illustrator recalls his life in terrific new book.


The protagonist of Peter Kuper’s graphic novel Stop Forgetting to Remember: The Autobiography of Walter Kurtz is “self-centered, pompous, and very whiny,” laughs the author. “I’m self-centered, pompous, and only a little bit whiny. There’s a difference.” While parts of the book reach back to Kuper’s 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 couldn’t stop.”

Kuper, a native Clevelander who now lives in Mexico, has illustrated literary classics (like Kafka’s Metamorphosis), penned a children’s book (Theo and the Blue Note), and wrote Mad magazine’s “Spy vs. Spy” comic for years. He’s 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 didn’t want to be stuck with reality, but I can’t make up these experiences.” The book’s hilarious tale chronicles Kuper’s 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 aren’t too many underground people writing about having kids.” There’s also plenty of post-9/11 paranoia, political musing, and other modern fears on display. “There’s 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: Don’t forget who you were.”

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.