Saturday, December 11, 2010

Meet Mark Alan Stamaty. Cartoonist. Author. Nice guy.

Some of you may have noticed a framed illustration behind the soda fountain at at the Brooklyn Farmacy: A funny image of Peter and Gia as soda jerks toasting egg creams, with their mother's head sandwiched in between the glasses. Some of you have even recognized the artist, having followed his political cartoons and comic strips that have appeared in Time, The Village Voice and the Washington Post. 
"Aha!" those-of-you-in-the-know have exclaimed, "THAT is an illustration by MARK ALAN STAMATY!"
And we have smiled at those-of-you in-the-know, and said, "Yes, that IS an illustration by Mark Alan Stamaty!"
And now, you can meet THAT GUY in person! 
That's right, on Saturday, December 18th, Mark Alan Stamaty will be signing his legendary book, Who Needs Donuts at the Farmacy. 
What a combination! Crazy good donuts from Peter Pan Bakery, crazy good artist from Brooklyn and his masterpiece of the absurd, Who Needs Donuts originally published 30 years ago with an illustration style that "mixes a benign Hieronymus Bosch with an urban Where's Waldo? Stamaty's off-the-wall humor is right on target for little kids and big kids today. 
Needless to say, we are absolutely delighted to have him visit us on our 'donut morning' with his 'donut book'. Please join us in welcoming Mr. Stamaty to our corner of the world at 513 Henry Street.  

A little back story (we love a good story)
Mark was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1947. (Mark was actually born around the corner from the Farmacy, we found out...) He grew up in a New Jersey beach town, the only child of two professional cartoonists who had met in art school. Mark attended Cooper Union, a no-tuition private college in New York City, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1969. 
Mark is the author-illustrator of ten books. His children's books include Who Needs Donuts? (1973, 2003), Alia's Mission (2005), Too Many Time Machines (1999), Small in the Saddle (1975), Minnie Maloney & Macaroni (1976) and Where's My Hippopotamus? (1977). 
In 1977-1978, Mark's panoramic centerfold cartoons of Greenwich VIllage and times Square for the Village Voice 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., which was later published as a comic strip novel. In 1981 Meg Greenfield, editorial page editor of the Washington Post, asked Mark to create a comic strip about Washington for her op-ed page. Mark traveled to D.C. to do extensive research, and in November of that year the Post and the Village Voice jointly debuted his new creation, Washingtoon, featuring, among many other characters, Congressman Bob Forehead, chairman of the JFK-Look-Alike Caucus. The comic strip’s popularity with Postand Voice readers led to its being picked up by more than 40 newspapers, including theBoston Globe, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and the Austin-American Statesman.
From 1994 to 1996, Mark was the political cartoonist for Time Magazine. From 2001 to 2003, he produced the highly praised monthly comic strip Boox for the New York Times Book Review. His cartoon reporting has covered a variety of events for GQ Magazine and The New Yorker, including men's fashion shows in Milan, the 2001 Baseball All-Star Game, the Washington Redskins' training camp, the Madison Square Garden 1992 25th-Anniversary Concert honoring Bob Dylan, the buzz around Washington during President Clinton's grand jury testimony, a UFO convention, and many more.
A page from Mark Alan Stamaty's book, Who Needs Donuts?
A little about the book...
Originally published in 1973, Who Needs Donuts is a sweet visual feast that will have kids (and nostalgic parents) poring over its rich tableaus for hours. Every inch of each black-and-white page is covered in detailed, delightful drawings, at times bringing to mind the two-dimensional cartoons of Saul Steinberg, at others the scratchy realism of Lynda Barry’s comics. In fact, there is so much to look at in this short, simple story that new discoveries are sure to be made with each successive reading (of which there are bound to be countless). Young Sam, clad (inexplicably, yet charmingly) in cowboy duds, already has a nice house with a big yard and lots of friends, but he feels nonetheless that something is missing. He mounts his trusty trike and heads for the big city in search of one thing: donuts, and not just a few, but "More than his mother and father could ever buy him."His quest is rife with humor and adventure, not to mention a man in paisley suit and a woman named Pretzel Annie. 
Kids will adore the no-holds-barred kookiness displayed throughout (a street vendor selling fried oranges with optional mayonnaise; a "self-service" restaurant where the waiters look exactly like the customers), and adults will smile at the hippie-era moral that love is all you need. As the flap illustration warns, "This book is addictive," but this sugar habit need not be kicked. 
--Review for by Brangien Davis
Fresh: Though published in the 70s, this book is as fresh as the donut you'll eat on Saturday morning at the Farmacy.
Friendly: Mark is one of the friendliest cartoonists we've met. 
Local: He was born around the corner. He resides in Manhattan. Mark is local.
For more information and to see a full body of his work, visit Mark's website:

1 comment:

  1. This is absolutely one of my favorite books in the world. The illustrations are I Spyish in detail and the story is tongue in cheek and clearly the cleverness comes from a guy from Brooklyn!