Virtual Memories Show 314:
Mark Alan Stamaty

“MacDoodle St. is the closest I ever got to the direction I wanted to go with my work.”

To celebrate the new 40th anniversary edition of MacDoodle St. (New York Review Comics), Mark Alan Stamaty joins the show for a conversation about that comic strip/graphic novel and what it meant for him and his career. We get into how it felt to draw a coda for this collection and how looking back at this work affects the two graphic novels he’s working on. We also talk about the joy of drifting, what it means to be a New York flaneur after 50+ years in the big city, his lifelong lament over the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn, the Tom Robbins book that warped his brain and set him on the path to MacDoodle St., the meditative quality of Chinese scholar rocks, and the work he wished he did in his younger days, as well as what he would have pursued if he’d been more financially secure. Oh, yeah, and he also tells us about getting possessed by Elvis’ spirit, his coping mechanisms for having a pair of gag cartoonists for parents, and the importance of composition for conveying energy to his readers. BONUS but not really: The intro is 15 minutes long, because I get into some weird epiphany-stuff; just skip to 15:00 for the start of the conversation. Give it a listen! And go buy MacDoodle St.!

“Composition is the energy of the whole work. Composition — form and color — that language means more to me than what’s being represented. It’s that chi, that energy.”

“I think I could have done amazing things in sculpture, but I had to do too much shit for money.”

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

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About our Guest

Mark Alan Stamaty is an acclaimed cartoonist and illustrator. His children’s books include Who Needs Donuts?, Alia’s Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq, Shake, Rattle & Turn That Noise Down!: How Elvis Shook Up Music, Me & Mom, Small in the Saddle, Minnie Maloney and Macaroni, and Where’s My Hippopotamus?. In 1977–1978, Mark’s panoramic centerfold cartoons for the Village Voice of Greenwich Village and Times Square attracted widespread attention and were sold by the Voice as posters; he then created a series of comic strips for that paper, including MacDoodle St. In 1981, he created the acclaimed political comic strip Washingtoon for the Voice and The Washington Post, and it was soon picked up by more than forty papers. From 1994 to 1996, he was the political cartoonist for Time magazine, and from 2001 to 2003, he produced the monthly comic strip Boox for The New York Times Book Review. His cartoons, illustrations, covers, and comics reporting have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The New Republic, New York, GQ, and many other magazines and newspapers. His honors include two Gold Medals and two Silver Medals from the Society of Illustrators, the Premio Satira Politica Forte dei Marmi 2005 from the Museum of Satire and Caricature in Forte dei Marmi, Italy, a Page One Award from the Newspaper Guild of New York, and the Augustus Saint-Gaudens alumni career award from the Cooper Union. He was born in Brooklyn in 1947, and lives in New York.

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at the Lexington Hotel in NYC on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photos of Mark by me. It’s on my instagram.

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