To Afghanistan and Back: A Graphic Travelogue

The first book about the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan is also my first work of comics journalism, a mixed-media “instant book” comprising a 50-page “graphic novella,” photos and essays. When bombs began falling on the Taliban in the fall of 2001, I traveled to northern Afghanistan, where I spent three weeks covering the U.S. bombing campaign for The Village Voice and KFI, a Los Angeles radio station. In daily dispatches that reviewers from The Washington Post and The Nation called “excellent” and “the best war reporting from Afghanistan by an American journalist,” I portrayed the horrors of war, the dangerous direction of U.S. intervention and the hazards faced by war correspondents in a conflict that became the most lethal in modern history. I entered Afghanistan in a convoy of 45 journalists, of whom three were killed. I had been writing and reporting extensively from Central Asia and Afghanistan since 1997 – my 2001 voyage to Afghanistan was my fifth trip…
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Search and Destroy: Cartoons by Ted Rall

A collection of 150 of my political cartoons published between 1995 and 2000. These pieces tackle the disappointments of the Clinton years, popular music, the dot-com boom to screwed-up relationships. I added commentary below most of the cartoons to place them into historical context. Search and Destroy includes cartoons from my transition from obscure alternative publications to big national media. The cartoons here appeared in The New York Times, where I was the most published cartoonist of the 1990s, Time, Fortune, Rolling Stone, Esquire, P.O.V. and numerous other magazines and newspapers. The introduction was written by word.com/”Gig” author John Bowe. Cartoon Collection, 2001 Andrews & McMeel Paperback, 8″x8″, 160 pp., $16.95 To order: Amazon
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2024: A Graphic Novel

One of my personal favorites, but also my worst-selling book, this graphic novel is a homage to/parody of/updating of George Orwell’s novel of totalitarian oppression 1984. I faithfully attempted to follow the structure of Orwell’s classic with a new take on twisted take on dystopia. The threat to our freedom isn’t some totalitarian tyrant — it’s our own, lazy, easily-distracted selves, wallowing in technological gadgetry while the world falls apart around us. Taking on postmodernism, nihilism, the Internet and free trade all at once, this is one of my most ambitious attempts to satirize contemporary American politics. “Combining the most depressing aspects of Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World, Ted Rall’s 2024 shows us where turn-of-the-century corporate America is heading if we don’t collectively wake up. Yet, like most of Rall’s work, it’s not a downer. Even when the reader sees a not-so-twisted reflection of his or her own life in Winston and Julia’s horrifying misadventures in neopostmodern “Canamexicusa,”…
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My War with Brian

My second long-form comic book (and first graphic novel, My War With Brian is my semi-autographical memoir of being bullied, particularly by one student, during junior high school. (Everything happened, just not in the order in the book.) Set in suburban Ohio during the 1970s, “My War with Brian” personalizes the experience of being bullied, as teachers look on and parents are clueless to help – and what happens to your soul if and when you finally fight back. I drew this book entirely on scratchboard, in black and white, similar to what I was doing with political art at the time. It was nominated for an Eisner award, but lost. Oh well. “This morbidly fascinating memoir-in-comics is one of the more frightening recollections of childhood bullying you’re likely ever ever read. Rall grew up in the 1970s in Kettering, Ohio (“suburb of the damned”), a town of stunning homogeneity that concealed an undercurrent of absurd intolerance. An intelligent, “brown-haired, brown-eyed…
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Revenge of the Latchkey Kids: An Illustrated Guide to Surviving the ’90s and Beyond

Mixing long essays and cartoons from the mid-1990s, Revenge is my Generation X manifesto. As Xers entered marriage, parenthood and, God forbid, responsibility, the book made a splash with its anti-Boomer argument that neglect and abuse of Gen X in its youth would create an unusually self-sufficient generational cohort in adulthood. This prediction proved accurate. Previously titled “Kill Your Parents Before They Kill You” (before buyers for major bookstore chains threatened not to carry it), contains 24 chapters of edgy insight, personal histories, advice and cartoons. It is, in the words of cartoonist Jules Feiffer (who wrote the introduction), “a spicy stew of high-handed judgments, part drawing, part essay, part memoir-confession, part tantrum. The text is the thing. Funny, fractious here and there, nasty now and then, brilliant.” Among the chapters are “College is for Suckers,” “Gen Xploitation,” “Making the Most of Your Parents’ Divorce,” “Relationship Tips for the Sexless,” and in a rallying cry against capitalism during the 1990s…
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Real Americans Admit: The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Done!

For my first (nonfiction) graphic novel, I gathered answers to the question “What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?” from 540 Americans from all walks of life. I asked fellow plane passengers, people at parties, family members…and I took out ads in newspapers too. I serialized their answers — everything from murder to animal cruelty to a mere one-night stand — in ComicsLit magazine and compiled the best 64 pages worth into this book. What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done? The answer to that simple question partially defines what and who we are. Worst Thing won the first-ever annual Firecracker Alternative Book Award in 1997. This book is out of print. If I do a sequel or it is developed into a reality TV show — something that has been repeatedly discussed — that would likely change. “By turns funny, unpleasant, and pathetic depending on your point of view (the animal abuse ones really bothered me), these stories are…
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All The Rules Have Changed

My second collection of cartoons, including work from 1992 to 1995 along with a few old pieces from my mid-1980s pasting-stuff-up-on-lampposts period, is rare and hard to find. All the Rules features editorial and full-page cartoons not published elsewhere. Author-editor Dave Eggers (McSweeney’s, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Zeitoun, The Circle) was then my editor at Might, and a friend, and he agreed to design the front and back cover. Rip Off Press published All The Rules in the middle of the Great Comics Distribution Meltdown of 1995. Only a few hundred copies were distributed before the remainder of the print run was pulped. Alternative Press Review called this book “a great collection of stuff – from cynical to radical, from witty to nasty, but all coming down hard on corporate America and the layers of illusion it promotes and sells as reality. Rall’s is a topsy turvy world in the worthy tradition of the Ranters, antinomians and Luddites of other…
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Waking Up in America

My first book is a collection of my editorial cartoons published at the beginning of my cartooning career, between 1988 to 1992. Politically, this work runs between the last year of Ronald Reagan and throughout Bush 41. I was experimenting with different styles during this period, so the work is uneven. I was picked up by Chronicle Features in San Francisco in 1991. Although this work reflects an exciting period in my development, be forewarned: this book suffers from atrocious reproduction quality because St. Martin’s Press didn’t set their photostat machine at the proper exposure, causing some cartoons to be published with moray patterns. Syndication dates were left on some of the pages! Waking Up isn’t terribly difficult to find used if you’re persistent, but at this point it has been long out-of-print. I no longer have personal copies for sale, so eBay is probably your best bet. Cartoon Collection, 1992 St. Martin’s Paperback, 6″x9″, 128 pp., $6.95
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