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Andrew Farago reveals the real life secrets behind The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on October 26, 2010

Andrew Farago, curator of the Cartoon Art Museum

Andrew Farago always loved cartoons and comic books, so 10 years ago he started volunteering at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco. “I watched cartoons all the time growing up and started collecting comics – GI Joe and Transformers – when I was 10 or 11, so I was pretty knowledgeable. I’ve never stopped collecting, just branched out on more and more titles.”

Farago turned his volunteering into a job, his hobby into his vocation. He’s now the Museum’s curator. Tonight (10/26) at 7:00 pm he’ll be sharing a bit of his accumulated knowledge at the Menlo Park Library, discussing the real life stories that inspired The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2001. Comic book artists moonlighting as stage magicians, superheroes with Houdini-esque escape powers, cartoonists battling Nazis in WWII, Superman suing Captain Marvel and the U.S. Senate taking on Batman – what’s real and what’s made up?

“My talk helps people sort out the truth from fiction,” he says. “If you’ve read the book, you’ll get more out of it. But if you’re new to the book but interested in super heroes, comic books or pop culture, you’ll enjoy the talk, too.”

Farago is an author himself. The Looney Tunes Treasury, which he co-authored with Ruth Clampett, daughter of legendary animation director Bob Clampett, was just published. “They’ve been favorite characters of mine for such a long time,” he says. “To get the opportunity to write a book about their history was really wonderful.”

Today he has no particular favorite comic or cartoon – it’s more often whatever he’s reading to prepare for the museum’s next exhibition. “That’s why my job is so fun – there’s always some new and interesting character or artist to discover.”

Tonight’s program is sponsored by the Friends of the Menlo Park Library.

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