Interview: Peter Kuper and ‘The System’ and ‘World War 3 Illustrated 1979-2014’

Page 70 from "The System" by Peter Kuper

Page 70 from “The System” by Peter Kuper

Peter Kuper is passionate about comics, New York City, and activism. He has established himself as a leading authority on all three subjects in a remarkable career that continues to explore and to grow. Where to begin? Well, many readers will know Mr. Kuper for his continuous work on “Spy vs. Spy” in MAD Magazine, since 1997. In that same year, his landmark graphic novel, “The System” was published. And it all begins with a love for underground comics and pushing the limits. This would lead to “World War 3 Illustrated,” started by Kuper and his childhood friend, Seth Tobocman. All sorts of subversive ideas were percolating between these two cartoonists while growing up in Cleveland. We discuss a key moment that brought things to a boil.

In this interview, we focus on “The System” and “World War 3 Illustrated 1979-2014,” both published by PM Press and out this July. During the course of our interview, we get a look into the process behind Kuper’s stencil work, a distinctive style evoking graffiti. It is a heroic style and one that is now part of the past. It was an authentic graffiti style, using actual spray paint aerosol cans. Of course, the time came to move on, for the sake of the environment and one’s own health.

Page 70 rough from "The System"

Page 70 rough from “The System”

Red Stencil from page 70, "The System"

Red Stencil, Page 70, “The System”

Red Spray Layer, Page 70, "The System"

Red Spray Layer, Page 70, “The System”

Peter Kuper proves to be an excellent interview. I think that is because he loves to share information. He is both a great artist and a great teacher. We cap off our interview with a look at his course on graphic novels at Harvard. But, first off, we begin with a look back at the first time that Peter Kuper met R. Crumb, as a boy. I hope you enjoy the interview. Just click the link below:

And be sure to visit PM Press right here. And Peter Kuper’s website right here.

You can find “World War 3 Illustrated 1979-2014” right here. You can find the new deluxe edition of “The System” right here.

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Filed under Comics, Graffiti, graphic novels, Illustration, Interviews, Peter Kuper, World War 3 Illustrated

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