Peter Kuper
Peter Kuper in 2014
Born (1958-09-22) September 22, 1958 (age 65)
Summit, New Jersey
Area(s)Artist, writer
Notable works
World War 3 Illustrated
Spy vs. Spy
The System
Give It Up!
The Metamorphosis
AwardsSociety of Illustrators gold medal, 2004, silver medal 2009, gold medal 2010

Peter Kuper (/ˈkpər/;[1] born September 22, 1958) is an American alternative comics artist and illustrator, best known for his autobiographical, political, and social observations.

Besides his contributions to the political anthology World War 3 Illustrated, which he co-founded[2] in 1979 with Seth Tobocman, Kuper is currently best known for taking over Spy vs. Spy for Mad magazine. Kuper has produced numerous graphic novels which have been translated into French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, Slovenian and Greek, including award-winning adaptations of Franz Kafka's Give It Up! and the Metamorphosis.

Early life

Peter Kuper was born in Summit, New Jersey, and moved to Cleveland, Ohio when he was six years old, where he graduated from Cleveland Heights High School in 1976.[3] He lived in Israel with his parents in 1969–70.

In 1970 Kuper and his childhood friend Seth Tobocman published their first fanzine, Phanzine, and in 1971 they published G.A.S Lite, the official magazine of the Cleveland Graphic Arts Society. In 1972 Kuper traded R. Crumb some old jazz records for the right to publish some artwork from one of Crumb's sketchbooks in a comic titled Melotoons that lasted for two issues.[citation needed]

He attended Kent State University in 1976–1977, then moved to New York City in 1977, where he studied at Art Students League and the Pratt Institute[4] (along with Seth Tobocman). For a short period he acted as studio assistant for cartoonist Howard Chaykin[5] at Chaykin's shared studio space, Upstart Associates.[6]



Kuper sketching at the New York Comic Con, October 10, 2010.
Kuper at Bangalore Comic Con, September 14, 2014

Kuper, Tobocman, and painter Christof Kohlhofer[7] founded World War 3 Illustrated in 1979.

Kuper has travelled extensively through Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, much of which he documented in his 1992 book, ComicsTrips: A Journal of Travels Through Africa and Southeast Asia.

Spy vs. Spy had passed through various hands after its creator Antonio Prohías retired, but Kuper's version has appeared without interruption since 1997.[2]

Kuper's Eye of the Beholder was the first comic strip to ever regularly appear in the New York Times, and his quasi-autobiography Stop Forgetting To Remember: The Autobiography of Walter Kurtz covers the birth of his daughter, 9/11, and other vicissitudes in his life from 1995 to 2005.

Though permanently based in New York City, Kuper wife and daughter resided in the Mexican state of Oaxaca 2006–2008, where he documented an ongoing teachers' strike and other aspects of Mexico in his sketchbook journal Diario de Oaxaca.[8][9]

Kuper's work in comics and illustration frequently combines techniques from both disciplines and often takes the form of wordless comic strips. Kuper remarked on this, "I initially put comics on one side and my illustration in another compartment, but over the years I found that it was difficult to compartmentalize like that. The two have merged together so that they're really inseparable."[10]

Kuper has taught comics and illustration courses at the Parsons School of Design, and The School of Visual Arts and Harvard University’s first class dedicated to graphic novels.[11]

In April 2022, Kuper was reported among the more than three dozen comics creators who contributed to Operation USA's benefit anthology book, Comics for Ukraine: Sunflower Seeds, a project spearheaded by IDW Publishing Special Projects Editor Scott Dunbier, whose profits would be donated to relief efforts for Ukrainian refugees resulting from the February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[12][13] Kuper contributed political cartoons to the anthology.[13][14]


As an illustrator, Kuper has produced covers for Time,[10] Newsweek,[10] Businessweek[citation needed] and The Progressive.[15] He has done hundreds of illustrations for newspapers including The New York Times[16] and for magazines such as Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and The New Yorker.[10] Kuper has been co-art director of the political illustration group INX International Ink Company[17] since 1988.


Kuper won a journalism award from The Society of Newspaper Designers in 2001. His wordless picture story Sticks and Stones was awarded the 2004 gold medal, and his comic "This Is Not A Comic" won a silver medal in 2009 both from the Society of Illustrators. He won another gold medal in the sequential arts category from the Society of Illustrators in 2010.[citation needed] His book Sticks and Stones, The System, Diario de Oaxaca, Ruins won the 2016 Eisner Award and adaptations of many of Franz Kafka’s works into comics including The Metamorphosis and Kafkaesque won the 2018 NCS award.[18]


Al Jaffee, Peter Kuper, and Sam Viviano, and Paul Levitz at a panel at Columbia University in early 2014

Comics work includes:


  1. ^ "Interview with Peter Kuper - The Comics Alternative"
  2. ^ a b Neil Gaiman, ed., The Best American Comics 2010 (Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010), 321
  3. ^ Kaltenbach, Chris. "MICA exhibit, symposium leaping from comics pages", The Baltimore Sun, January 29, 2004. Accessed February 20, 2011. "Peter Kuper. Birthplace Summit N.J. moved to Cleveland at age 6."
  4. ^ Biography in HeightsArts: A Nonprofit Arts Organization. Archived May 14, 2008, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved August 4, 2008.
  5. ^ Worcester, Kenton. "Waxing Politick," (an interview with Seth Tobocman) The Comics Journal #233 (May 11, 2001). Retrieved August 4, 2008.
  6. ^ Irving, Christopher. "Diario de Peter Kuper": Peter Kuper interview from 2009, in Peter Kuper: Conversations, edited by Kent Worcester (Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2016).
  7. ^ ""A Magazine Rooted In The East Village" A New York Times Article by Colin Moynihan reviewing the New York City EXIT ART show "Graphical Radicals"". The New York Times. January 28, 2011.
  8. ^ "The Virginia Quarterly Review". Archived from the original on November 22, 2007. Retrieved September 26, 2007.
  9. ^ Lorah, Michael C. "Peter Kuper on Stop Forgetting to Remember and More" Archived July 2, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Newsarama (April 7, 2007). Retrieved August 4, 2008.
  10. ^ a b c d Palmer, Tom Jr. (August 1997). "Kuper's Comics". Wizard. No. 72. pp. 104–5.
  11. ^ "About & Contact". Peter Kuper | Peter Kuper Art. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
  12. ^ Kaplan, Rebecca O. (April 18, 2022). "ZOOP launches benefit anthology COMICS FOR UKRAINE: SUNFLOWER SEEDS". The Beat. Archived from the original on April 18, 2022. Retrieved April 26, 2022.
  13. ^ a b Brooke, David (April 18, 2022). "'Comics for Ukraine: Sunflower Seeds' to benefit Ukrainian refugees". AIPT. Archived from the original on April 26, 2022. Retrieved April 26, 2022.
  14. ^ Kit, Borys (April 20, 2022). "Comic Book Creators Team for Ukraine Relief Effort Anthology 'Sunflower Seed'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on April 20, 2022. Retrieved April 30, 2022.
  15. ^ "Faculty: Peter Kuper," Archived October 3, 2017, at the Wayback Machine School of Visual Arts website. Accessed Oct. 2, 2017.
  16. ^ Worcester, Kent, editor. Peter Kuper: Conversations (Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2016).
  17. ^ INXart official website. Accessed Oct. 2, 2017.
  18. ^ "National Cartoonists Society". Retrieved March 23, 2022.
  19. ^ Stop Forgetting to Remember official site, Accessed Nov. 6, 2019.