C. Tyler‘s graphic memoir (the first book of three), You’ll Never Know (Book 1): A Good and Decent Man, has been getting a great deal of praise as of late. Our own, Chris Mautner, noted (in his review of Tyler’s book) that it “certainly deserves any accolades it receives”. The memoir (as described by Fantagraphics): “tells the story of the 50-something author’s relationship with her World War II veteran father, and how his war experience shaped her childhood and affected her relationships in adulthood. ‘You’ll Never Know’ refers not only to the title of her parents’ courtship song from that era, but also to the many challenges the author encountered in uncovering the difficult and painful truths about her Dad’s service — challenges exacerbated by her own tumultuous family life.” Even though she’s quite busy, she was generous enough to recently entertain a few of my questions via email.
C. Tyler: Before we get started, I have to say this first: Bill Murray, I love you and I’m ready to go on that date, so please call.
Now what were those questions?
Tim O’Shea: Are you annoyed, pleased or indifferent when reviewers of the book liken it on some level to Maus?
Tyler: Maus is such an important work. To be likened on some level to Maus: unbelievable. However, my answer comes more from a personal place.
When I first read the New York Times Review by Douglas Wolk, I was ready to bust out cryin’ with joy. You see, Art Spiegelman was one of the first official cartoonists I met. I was part of the fan team that helped with the first Raw promotions, hanging up fliers all over Manhattan. This was 1982 maybe? It felt so cool to be part of his inner circle and close to the early excitement he was feeling about Maus. I remember we were in a cab once on the way back from a Raw party and I was thinking how my Dad was over there, too, as part of the armed effort that eventually liberated his Dad. And his Mother. But I never believed that I could ever produce a work that would be mentioned in the same sentence.