Graphic Tales Gets Reboot on Ten-Year Anniversary

Washington University Professor D.B. Dowd began writing his blog, Graphic Tales, in July 2007, during a hiatus in his studio. Frustrated by a lack of rigor in the criticism of popular visual culture–particularly in the field of illustration–he began to write on topics like the relationship between illustration and cartooning, narrow-minded views of drawing in the academy, and overlooked figures from the commercial tradition. He would go on to write diverse posts on 1950s wooden puzzles, an appreciation of biology textbook illustrations, and a critical response to the famous Barry Blitt “Obama as Oval Office Terrorist” New Yorker cover (from the July 21, 2008 issue), an essay dubbed “the last word” on the controversy by Andrew Sullivan. Dowd, for whom the D.B. Dowd Modern Graphic History Library at Washington University was renamed in 2016, developed a second blog in illustration history, also at, devoted to women illustrators in the United States.

The wide-ranging Graphic Tales has been given pride of place in the new redesign of, configured in a magazine format to highlight written content as well as the writer/ illustrator’s visual work.

In coming weeks, Dowd will be announcing a new book contract on a project based in part on his exploratory writing for Graphic Tales.

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