Pyle, Kevin C. 1964–
Pyle, Kevin C. 1964–
Born July 9, 1964, in Santa Barbara, CA; son of Charles Robert (a corporate executive) and Maxene (a homemaker) Pyle; married Melanie Comer (a certified nurse midwife), June 16, 1997; children: one son. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: University of Kansas, B.F.A., 1986
Home and office—Bloomfield, NJ. Agent—Michelle Andelman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc., 1076 Eagle Dr., Salinas, CA 93905. E-mail—[email protected]
Illustrator and author. Minor Injury Gallery, director, 1990-91; Center for Urban Pedagogy, teaching artist, 2007—; illustrator for publications, including Adbusters, National Law Journal, New Yorker, New York Times, New York Times Book Review, Progressive, Village Voice, and Wall Street Journal. Exhibitions: Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA, 1994; Parsons School of Design, New York, NY, 1995; Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York, NY, 1996; Brooklyn Museum of Art (performance), 1997; Mass MOCA, 2001; University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 2002.
Silver Medal for Sequential Art, Society of Illustrators, 2002, for Lab U.S.A.: Illuminated Documents; Great Graphic Novel for Teens nomination, Young Adult Library Services Association, 2007, for Blindspot.
(Author and illustrator) Lab U.S.A.: Illuminated Documents (docucomic), Autonomedia (Brooklyn, NY), 2001.
(Author and illustrator) Blindspot (graphic novel), Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2007.
Also author, with Craig Gilmore, and illustrator of pamphlet Prison Town: Paying the Price, The Real Cost of Prisons Project, 2005. Coeditor of and contributor to comic World War 3 Illustrated, 1990—.
Kevin C. Pyle is an illustrator and author who has applied his talents to several works of graphic journalism as well as to a graphic novel for preteens. His first major work was Lab U.S.A.: Illuminated Documents, an illustrated exposé of various unethical experiments conducted on unsuspecting American citizens, often poor members of minority groups. A Publishers Weekly reviewer observed that Pyle's "vivid documentation offers a chilling indictment of a long and despicable history of bogus science." In an interview article in the New York Press, Jim Knipfel explained that the book "takes the form of dark collages, the stories told through reproductions of official reports and illustrated with Pyle's recreations of historic medical photographs." He was surprised by "the complete lack of editorializing on Pyle's part." Pyle told Knipfel, "I really just used documents and quotes from other sources, then constructed it out of those quotes, and let the pictures fill in the gaps," a method Knipfel found "unique and absolutely horrifying." The work won a Silver Medal for Sequential Art from the Society of Illustrators.
Blindspot is a graphic novel about a boy's gradual growth from childhood to adolescence through military play that collides with reality when he encounters a homeless veteran. Remarking that Pyle "uses the graphic novel format to powerful effect," a Publishers Weekly contributor deemed it "a very smart and humane graphic novel." Philip Charles Crawford in Horn Book wrote that the book "convincingly captures the thoughts of a preadolescent boy" and also pointed out Pyle's "innovative use of color." One critic, Benjamin Russell in School Library Journal, felt that the illustrations of the boys did not adequately convey their youth, and he claimed that the revelation the protagonist experiences "doesn't successfully sell itself as the natural result of the circumstances." Booklist reviewer Jesse Karp, on the other hand, stated that Blindspot "perfectly captures a shining moment of boyhood, even as it leaves readers with much to think about."
Pyle told CA: "What first got me interested in writing? Probably reading. I find myself more attracted to bookstores than galleries and am constantly reading a variety of things. I always looked at myself as a visual artist interested in narrative content, structures, etc., but have come to realize that my imagination is very story-oriented. I find what happens in between the words and the pictures endlessly fascinating.
"My nonfiction investigative work takes its cue from visual artists like Leon Golub, Hans Haacke, and John Heartfield, as well as punk rock graphics. My graphic novels, like Blindspot and the forthcoming graphic novel Katman, are more influenced by film and literature. The François Truffaut film 400 Blows as well as the films of Gus Van Sant stick out as movies about kids and teens that attempt to capture their experience realistically and without judgment. The films of Akira Kurosawa and Michelangelo Antonioni resonate strongly with me because of their strong sense of place and compositional complexity.
"I try to keep moving when I'm working. If I'm stuck on a scene I make quick notes and move on. I jump back and forth from writing and sketching but often end up getting an overall plot structure in place before the details. I'll sometimes be involved in activities of my daily life and suddenly find scraps of dialogue popping into my head. It's surprising how much my mind seems to be working on it when I'm not actively writing."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Alternative Press Review, May, 2002, Allan Antliff, review of Lab U.S.A.: Illuminated Documents.
Booklist, March 15, 2007, Jesse Karp, review of Blindspot, p. 56.
Horn Book, July-August, 2007, Philip Charles Crawford, review of Blindspot, p. 402.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2007, review of Blindspot.
New York Press, Volume 14, Issue 29, July 18-July 24, 2001, Jim Knipfel, "Illuminating Shadowy Manuscripts."
Publishers Weekly, October 29, 2001, review of Lab U.S.A.; April 9, 2007, review of Blindspot, p. 56.
Sandbox, June, 2002, Sylvie Myerson, interview with Kevin Pyle.
School Library Journal, July, 2007, Benjamin Russell, review of Blindspot, p. 126.
Strapazin, June, 2000, Nicholas Blechman, "Notes from the (Comic) Underground."
Kevin C. Pyle Illustration, http://www.kevinpyleillustration.com (June, 2008).