Before following someone on Twitter, it was all about the “hard copy.” For twenty years, Stan Mack was the cartoonist at The Village Voice with his popular comic strip, “Stan Mack’s Real Life Funnies.”
In 1994, Mack started branching out into the literary world. After dabbling in children’s books, his first major publication was born. Now 18 years later, and after writing and illustrating several books, Mack is ready to re-release that publication.
This selection is entitled Taxes, Tea Party, and Those Revolting Rebels: A History in Comics of the American Revolution. In the 1950s, Arthur Miller used the backdrop of McCarthyism as an allegory to write The Crucible about the 17th Century witchhunt.
In the same way, Mack was inspired to explore our country’s founding based on what he saw covering the riots at Tompkins Square Park in the 1980s for The Voice.
“There was something about that experience, watching the clash between the various groups and it kind of just got a little bit out of control,” Mack tells FishbowlNY. “What came out it was the beginning of a study of rights of freedom, starting at the beginning of the country.”
Mack says his field changed dramatically since the book hit shelves for its first edition 18 years ago.
“There was no such thing as graphic novels,” Mack admits.
Additionally, publisher Avon crashed and was purchased by HarperCollins.
“All the books just washed away,” Mack says. “So it never really had the chance to go anywhere.”
After reacquiring the rights, Mack kept the original book in a drawer waiting for the right timing. He fine tuned the copy, while trying to make the American Revolution appear more relevant.
“If you look at the elements: there’s taxation, depression, there’s the battle between big government and small,” Mack says. “… There’s a lot of stuff that resonates with the issues of the day.”
Mack hooked up with graphic novel publisher NBM, and the result is the release in early September. He says the majority of the book is untouched, but there are slight alterations awaiting readers.
“I fine tuned why John Adams actually took on the defense of the British after the Boston Massacre,” Mack admits. “That always bothered me.”
Also of note for the updated edition, the title and front cover has been adjusted for the new audiences.
And Mack believes this book targets two sets of readers. First, he has a built-in audience from his comic strip days,”Which was aimed at everybody I knew,” Mack says.
He also expects the education world to embrace the book, “especially from seventh grade up through high school.”
A one-time New York Times Sunday Magazine art director, the legendary Mack also sketched about the world of New York media for Adweek magazine.
“It’s not a scholarly book,” Mack says. “It’s meant to be, like my comic strips, a lot of dialogue, a lot of people qualities, just being there as it’s going on.”