At 46, [Peter Kuper] is among a bevy of comic artists trying to stretch the boundaries of what are popularly perceived as the medium's limitations. Beginning tomorrow, he'll be one of the artists featured in Comics on the Verge, an exhibition running through March 14 at the Maryland Institute College of Art. And next week, he'll be in town as part of MICA's Comics Weekend: A Symposium on an Art Form, lecturing, leading workshops and generally trying to jibe the public's perception of comics and comic artists with the broadened vistas opening to them in the new millennium.
As a teen-ager, Kuper published a comics fanzine in Cleveland, which afforded him the chance to interview some of the seminal figures in the underground comics movement. There was MAD magazine publisher William M. Gaines, whose dedication to anarchy and disdain for authority revolutionized popular culture beginning in the 1950s. And there was Robert Crumb, whose rough-edged, frequently autobiographical musings were polarizingly profane.
Kuper has also done a graphic novelization of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis, the tale of a man who wakes up one morning having been transformed into a cockroach. His books include Speechless, a collection of wordless drawings and ruminations on both the state of the world and the burgeoning world of the comics, and Peter Kuper's ComicsTrips, an illustrated (and opinionated) journal of his trips through Africa and Southeast Asia.