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Rees, David 1972–

Rees, David 1972–

(David Thomas Rees)

PERSONAL:

Born June 22, 1972, in Chapel Hill, NC; son of Philip (an art librarian) and Margaret (a systems analyst) Rees; married Sarah Lariviere, July 1, 2002. Ethnicity: "White." Education: Oberlin College, B.A., 1994. Politics: "Left." Religion: "Atheist."

ADDRESSES:

Home—Beacon, NY. Agent—Kassie Evashevski, United Talent Agency, 9560 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 500, Beverly Hills, CA 90212-2401. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Cartoonist; strips include Get Your War On, 2001—, My New Fighting Technique Is Unstoppable, 2000—, My New Filing Technique Is Unstoppable, 2000—, and Adventures of Confessions of Saint Augustine Bear, 2003—; creator of Web site, MNFTIU.CC, 2000—. Former temporary office worker.

MEMBER:

American Association of Editorial Cartoonists.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Named one of USA Today's 100 Most Interesting People, 2003.

WRITINGS:

Get Your War On, introduction by Colson Whitehead, Soft Skull Press (Brooklyn, NY), 2002.

My New Fighting Technique Is Unstoppable, Riverhead (New York, NY), 2003.

Get Your War On II, Riverhead (New York, NY), 2004.

My New Filing Technique Is Unstoppable, Riverhead (New York, NY), 2004.

Get Your War On: The Definitive Account of the War on Terror, Soft Skull Press (Brooklyn, NY), 2008.

Contributor to 411, Marvel Comics (New York, NY), 2003; Politically Inspired, edited by S. Elliott, McAdam/Cage (San Francisco), 2003; Pictures and Words: New Comic Art and Narrative Illustration, edited by R. Bell and M. Sinclair, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2005; Proud to Be Liberal, edited by R. Lasner and E. Clementson, Ig Publishing (New York, NY), 2006; Ultimate Blogs: Masterworks from the Wild Web, edited by Sarah Boxer, Vintage (New York, NY), 2008; Things I've Learned from Women Who've Dumped Me, edited by Ben Karlin, Grand Central (New York, NY), 2008. Contributor to periodicals, including Rolling Stone, Nation, Guardian, Village Voice, Chicago Reader, New York Press, Blender, and Punk Planet. Contributor to the Huffington Post online journal.

ADAPTATIONS:

Get Your War On was adapted as a one-act play by Kirk Lynn and the Rude Mechanicals and premiered in Austin, TX, in September, 2006.

SIDELIGHTS:

David Rees was working as a fact-checker for Maxim magazine—a temp job—when he created his first clip-art cartoons, which became an instant hit with his friends and soon spread via the Internet. Shortly after George W. Bush launched Operation Enduring Freedom as a response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Rees launched the online cartoon Get Your War On, a satirical look at the military campaign from the viewpoint of disaffected white-collar office workers. Comprised of noncopyrighted line drawings of businesspeople in various telephonic poses, the innocuous pictures are paired with blunt—and often foul—language in the form of catty remarks attributed to the clean-cut characters ("a gusher of unprintable participles," as John Leland of the New York Times put it).

The contrast of clean-cut employees and crude language was, as Rees told Leland, "a response to other commentators pussyfooting around the horror" of the so-called War on Terror. The strip, which Rees had created for the amusement of himself and his friends, soon found its way into in-boxes across the country. It was picked up by Rolling Stone magazine, and in 2002 a collection of the strips, also titled Get Your War On, became Rees's first book. Rees told Everett Evans in the Houston Chronicle that Get Your War On was "my way of understanding how I feel about President Bush's foreign policy. One of its big themes has been skepticism, mocking the language in which the war on terror is expressed." Henry Kissinger, Enron, anthrax, the economic fallout of 9/11, and war strategies that include dropping food relief packages into minefields are some of the topics that Rees satirizes. The book became a best seller; it "made readers laugh while raising their consciousness about the state of the world," wrote a PR Newswire reviewer. Rees told reporters that his success would not come at the cost of the war's victims; all his royalties from the book would be donated to a charity that removes land mines in Afghanistan.

The success of both the strip and the book resulted in a sequel, Get Your War On II, which collects strips published in Rolling Stone along with some that did not make it into the first book. Reviewers praised the second volume in much the same way as they had the first. A writer for Publishers Weekly wrote that "Rees's work is a comic juggernaut…. [His] keen understanding of politics and history, and his passion for American freedoms, keeps the work surging forward."

My New Fighting Technique Is Unstoppable, Rees's second collection, features a clip-art karate character, and the similarly titled My New Filing Technique Is Unstoppable brings together the characters from Get Your War On as they suffer the indignities of the cubicle work world that bring to mind the comic strip Dilbert and the movie Office Space. Both strips predate Get Your War On. The result is "a fantastic recreation of the middle-management tedium and petty in-fighting that the workplace can become," wrote a reviewer for Publishers Weekly.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Book Review, March-April, 2005, Adam Jones, review of Get Your War On II, p. 13.

Booklist, September 15, 2002, Ray Olson, review of Get Your War On, p. 199; September 1, 2004, Ray Olson, review of Get Your War On II, p. 78.

Creative Review, December 1, 2004, review of Get Your War On, p. 69.

Daily Variety, January 15, 2007, Marilyn Stasio, review of Get Your War On, p. 4.

Houston Chronicle, September 23, 2006, Everett Evans, "Theater; Get Your War On Is a Political Zinger," p. 3.

Library Bookwatch, September, 2004, review of My New Fighting Technique Is Unstoppable.

Los Angeles Times, October 17, 2002, Susan Carpenter, "Drawing on Irony and Humor; David Rees' Brutally Honest, Off-Color Comic Strip about America in the Wake of Sept. 11 Will Be Made into a Book," p. E-24.

Newsweek, November 4, 2002, Bret Begun, review of Get Your War On, p. 54.

New Yorker, September 23, 2002, review of Get Your War On, p. 24.

New York Times, April 21, 2002, John Leland, "Like Dilbert, but Subversive and Online," p. ST1; January 13, 2007, Jason Zinoman, review of the play Get Your War On, p. B14.

PR Newswire, "Sequel to Post-911 Comic Satire Get Your War On to Be Published by Riverhead Books."

Progressive, January, 2003, review of Get Your War On, p. 38.

Publishers Weekly, April 5, 2004, review of My New Filing Technique Is Unstoppable, p. 43; August 23, 2004, review of Get Your War On II, p. 39.

Rolling Stone, April 17, 2003, John Colapinto, interview with David Rees, p. 48.

ONLINE

MNFTIU.cc,http://www.mnftiu.cc (April 14, 2008).

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