Josh Neufeld (born August 9, 1967) is an alternative cartoonist known for his nonfiction comics on subjects like Hurricane Katrina, international travel, and finance, as well as his collaborations with writers like Harvey Pekar and Brooke Gladstone. He is the writer/artist of A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, and the illustrator of The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media.
Biography and career highlights
Born in New York, Neufeld spent most of his youth in California (San Diego and San Francisco), and then moved back to New York City during his teenage years. He graduated from the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School in 1985 and Oberlin College with a B.A. in Art History in 1989. Shortly after graduating from college, he spent over a year backpacking with his then-girlfriend (now his wife) through Southeast Asia and Central Europe, and living for a period in the Czech Republic.
As a child, Neufeld's influences were Belgian cartoonist Hergé's The Adventures of Tintin, Goscinny & Uderzo's Asterix, and the Curt Swan-Murphy Anderson issues of Action Comics and Superman. Later in life, as he gravitated toward alternative comics, Neufeld was inspired by the writing and work of Scott McCloud, Chris Ware, and Dan Clowes; and the real-life stories of Joe Sacco, Harvey Pekar, and David Greenberger.
In 2010, Neufeld was invited to act as a representative of the United States Department of State's Speaker and Specialist program, which sends Americans abroad as cultural "ambassadors." In March 2010, Neufeld spent two weeks in Burma as part of the program; in October he visited Egypt, Algeria, Bahrain, and Israel/Palestine as part of the same program.
Neufeld was a 2012–2013 Knight-Wallace Fellow in journalism at the University of Michigan; he was the first so-called "comics journalist" to be awarded a Knight-Wallace Fellowship.
In October 2014, Neufeld was a Master Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, where he led a three-week residency for mid-career cartoonists.
Neufeld currently resides with his wife, the writer Sari Wilson, and their daughter, in Brooklyn, New York.
Neufeld was awarded a 2004 grant from the Xeric Foundation for his graphic novel, A Few Perfect Hours (and Other Stories From Southeast Asia & Central Europe), a collection of real-life stories about his travel experiences. He is the creator of the comic book series The Vagabonds (published by Alternative Comics), and co-creator (with high school friend Dean Haspiel) of Keyhole (Millennium/Modern and Top Shelf Productions) and (with R. Walker) Titans of Finance: True Tales of Money and Business (Alternative Comics).
A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge
In 2005, shortly after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, Neufeld spent three weeks as an American Red Cross volunteer in Biloxi, Mississippi. The blog he kept about that experience turned into a self-published book, Katrina Came Calling (2006). Later, Neufeld was asked to write the introduction to a book called Signs of Life: Surviving Katrina, a collection of photos of the hand-made signs that appeared in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina. Profits from sales of the book went two organizations still working in the area: Common Ground Relief and Hands On Network.
In 2007–2008, Neufeld wrote and drew A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, an online graphic novel serialized on SMITH Magazine. A.D. tells the real stories of seven New Orleans residents and their experiences during and after Hurricane Katrina. A.D. received extensive press coverage, including in such venues as the Los Angeles Times, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Rolling Stone, Wired.com, BoingBoing, the Toronto Star, and National Public Radio's "News & Notes". Through this work, and his later collaboration, The Influencing Machine, Neufeld leads an intense reflection about the way the media treats information.
In May 2008, it was announced that a four-color hardcover edition of A.D. would be published by Pantheon Graphic Novels. The book included 25% more story and art, as well as extensive revisions to the material from the webcomic. Debuting on August 18, 2009, shortly before Hurricane Katrina's fourth anniversary, A.D. went on to become a New York Times bestseller.
His comics have also been published in The Atavist, Cartoon Movement, World War 3 Illustrated, FSB, NEA Arts, mMode magazine, ReadyMade, The Village Voice, The Chicago Reader, In These Times, and many other venues. Neufeld's illustrations have appeared in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Nickelodeon Magazine, the Austin American-Statesman, the Washington City Paper, New York Press, ShuttleSheet, and many other publications.
Neufeld is one of the founding members of the online comics collective ACT-I-VATE. In 2014 he joined the comics collective Hang Dai Editions (of whose founding members was his long-time friend Dean Haspiel).
Neufeld co-wrote the "motion comics" element of the ABC News documentary Earth 2100, which premiered on ABC on June 2, 2009. Neufeld worked on the sections of the documentary dealing with the fictional character "Lucy," who witnesses the apocalyptic effects of climate change and societal upheaval during the course of the 21st century.
Neufeld was a long-time artist for Pekar’s American Splendor, and has collaborated with many writers from outside the comics world, including poets, memoirists, and theatre groups. Other comics writers Neufeld has illustrated stories for include Pekar's wife Joyce Brabner (in American Splendor), and Greenberger in Duplex Planet Illustrated (published by Fantagraphics), R. Walker (in Titans of Finance), and Peter Ross (in a self-published mini-comic called Mortgage Your Soul).
Neufeld's collaborations with writers from outside the traditional comics world tend to be formalist and experimental in spirit. He has adapted a number of poet Nick Flynn's pieces into comics, which have appeared in various literary journals and websites. Neufeld is an Associate Artist with the New York-based theatre collective The Civilians, and has adapted portions of a number of their plays into comic book form. He has also collaborated with writer Eileen Myles, and Neufeld's mother, artist Martha Rosler. A special issue (subtitled "Of Two Minds") of Neufeld's comics series The Vagabonds was dedicated to his many collaborations.
Most recently, Neufeld collaborated with journalist Brooke Gladstone, co-host of WNYC radio's On the Media. Their book, published by W.W. Norton, is titled The Influencing Machine and was released in May 2011. Gladstone describes the book as "a treatise on the relationship between us and the news media, . . . a manifesto on the role of the press in American history as told through a cartoon version of [me] that would preside over each page."