It’s not every day that you meet a certified genius, but cartoonist Ben Katchor is one of the few such figures walking around New York today. He’s a MacArthur Foundation Fellow and author of the Julius Knipl trilogy The Jew of New York and the opera The Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island, and his next book is The Dairy Restaurant. Though it features Tevye the Milkman, the book is not a tribute to the vegetarian Jewish restaurants of the old Lower East Side. “There’s stuff in it about dairy restaurants, but also about the whole history of Jewish restaurants,” Katchor tells us. “But I don’t know when it will be done. I’m only halfway through it now.”
The Amazon entry for the book lists December 31, 2009, as its release date, which might be optimistic. But since all of Katchor’s work is completely timeless, existing in a poetic ether of nostalgia and loss, it hardly matters when it comes out. What does matter, though, is our getting some preview panels from the book. “I’ll have something to show you…maybe sometime…” he says apologetically. You can’t hurry genius.
Ben Katchor: Picture Stories [Official site]