Comics Enriched Their Lives! #3


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Friday, January 19, 2007


Nabokov‘s interest in comic strips was not limited to his childhood. Axel Rex, protagonist of Laughter in the Dark, is a cartoonist, the creator of Cheepy. Bend Sinister also features an invented comic strip (Etermon) and Speak, Memory pays its coded tribute to Otto Soglow‘s strip The Little King. Alfred Appel, whose 1974 Nabokov’s Dark Cinema (New York, Oxford UP) remains the best introduction to Nabokov’s use of images from popular culture, surveys his American comic strip allusions (pp. 74-85). Dick Tracy and Kerry Drake figure in Lolita, as does Lo’s favorite strip Penny. Appel also quotes a personal conversation in which Nabokov mused: “Dennis the Menace doesn’t look like his father. Could he be illegitimate?” (31). When he ponders writing a letter about it to The Herald Tribune, “he is dissuaded by Vèra who remarks that the paper had not printed his earlier letter about plot inconsistencies in Rex Morgan.”

—D. Barton Johnson, “Nabokov’s Golliwoggs: Lodi Reads English 1899-1909″

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2 Responses to “Comics Enriched Their Lives! #3”
  1. Aaron White says:

    I distinctly recall reading (in a footnote to Annotated Lolita?) that Nabokov was a L’il Abner fan as well.

  2. Jeet Heer says:

    There is also a curious “Krazy Kat” reference embedded in “Pale Fire” — in Zembla the King drinks “Tiger Tea”.