The System (Hardcover)
PM Press, 9781604868111, 112pp.
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
It has been said that the flutter of insect wings in the Indian Ocean can send a hurricane crashing against the shores of the American Northeast, and such a premise lies at the core of The System, a wordless graphic novel created and painted by award-winning illustrator Peter Kuper. A sleazy stockbroker is lining his pockets, a corrupt cop is shaking down drug dealers, a mercenary bomber is setting the timer, a serial killer is stalking strippers, a political scandal is about to explode, the planet is burning, and nobody’s talking. Told without captions or dialogue, this piece of art is an astonishing progression of vivid imagery, each brilliantly executed panel contains layer upon layer of information that forms a vast and intricate tour of an ominous world of coincidences and consequences.
About the Author
Peter Kuper is a cofounder and editorial board member of political graphics magazine World War 3 Illustrated and a teacher who has taught at New York’s School of Visual Arts and Parsons the New School for Design. Best known for drawing Mad magazine’s Spy vs. Spy comic since 1997, he has also illustrated covers for Newsweek and Time magazine. He is the author of the graphic novel Sticks and Stones, which won the New York Society of Illustrators Gold Medal; Diario de Oaxaca: A Sketchbook Journal of Two Years in Mexico; Drawn to New York; and Ruins, winner of the 2016 Eisner Award for Best New Graphic Album. Calvin Reid is a contributing editor and head of the comics department at Publishers Weekly, where heads the magazine’s annual African American issue and coedits its online comics newsletter, PW Comics Week. They both live in New York City.
Praise For The System…
“Kuper’s brilliant visual novel, much like Fritz Lang, creates a comic noir of corruption and innocence in a city where the devil is always in the details.” —Sue Coe, artist and author, Dead Meat
“A dark, dense, subtle portrait of the intricate continuum of urban life—and death—done in such bold strokes and shapes that you will never see the city in the same way again.” —Kirkpatrick Sale, author, After Eden: The Evolution of Human Domination
“Though it has no word balloons or thought bubbles, The System is filled with so much urban clatter, you’ll want to seal your windows shut. Kuper uses his trademark spray-paint/stencil art to send us careening through a kinetic New York landscape, jump-cutting from a crooked cop to a stripper, panning from a homeless guy to a cell-phone yuppie. The star of the story is the dark city itself, and the point is how money ties all its occupants—whether they know it or not—together.” —Gavin Edwards, Details
“This is our world, folks, as it exists right now, teetering on the brink of something we can’t quite imagine, laid out by Peter Kuper as a flow chart of parallels and coincidences and connecting fibers so powerful and occult that a pin dropped in a back street creates shock waves that make skyscrapers tremble.” —Luc Sante, author, Low Life
"Cartooning is an art that can be universally recognized and appreciated. The purest of this form is the wordless comic, where the cartoonist creates a strictly visual language. Over the years there have been a few geniuses in this specialized art form. One of them is Peter Kuper. Long may his pencil, pen and brush silently flow." —Al Jaffe, Mad