November 21, 1978
|Area(s)||Writer, Penciller, Inker|
|Awards||Xeric Award, 2004|
Association of Alternative Newsweeklies award for Best Cartoon, 2010
Karl Stevens (born November 21, 1978 in Concord, Massachusetts) is a graphic novelist and painter. His first book, Guilty, was published in 2004 with a grant from the Xeric Foundation. He is also the author of Whatever (2008) and The Lodger (2010). His comic strips have appeared since 2005 in the alternative newsweekly the Boston Phoenix.
Reviews of Guilty noted its "painstaking cross-hatch[ing] ... and its pitch-perfect, 'overheard' dialogue" and its extremely — even "overwhelmingly" — detailed realism. In addition to receiving the Xeric award for comic self-publishing, Guilty was nominated for the 2005 Ignatz Award for Promising New Talent, has been translated into French (published by Ego Comme X) and Dutch, and is included in Stephen Weiner's The 101 Best Graphic Novels.
Comics and Other Books
Stevens' weekly comic "Whatever" appeared in the Boston Phoenix for three years, beginning in spring 2005. A collection of the strips, also called Whatever, was published in April 2008 by Alternative Comics. In May 2008 "Whatever" was followed by a new comic, "Succe$$," illustrated by Stevens and written by Gustavo Turner. "Succe$$" ran through December 2008. In January 2009, Stevens debuted a new weekly comic in the Boston Phoenix called "Failure." Stevens' book The Lodger, published in 2010, is a selection of strips from the first year of "Failure," accompanied by oil paintings and watercolors. In 2010, "Failure" won the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies award for Best Cartoon. 2013 saw the publication of FAILURE from Alternative Comics which collected the last years of the weekly comic. In 2018 Retrofit/Big Planet Comics published THE WINNER, an original graphic novel that focuses on Stevens's relationship with his wife Alex, and various short stories in different genres. Since 2018 his gag cartoons have been appearing in The New Yorker magazine and website.
Painting and other work
Stevens' oil paintings and watercolors have been exhibited at the Carroll and Sons and Howard Yezerski galleries in Boston. A solo exhibition entitled "The Lodger" was on view at Carroll and Sons in July and August 2010. As an illustrator, Stevens collaborated with Anthony Apesos on the book Anatomy for Artists: A New Approach Discovering, Learning, and Remembering the Body, released in October 2007 by North Light Books. His short stories have appeared in Volumes 1 and 3 of Blurred Vision, anthologies of "New Narrative Art" published by Blurred Books.
- Arnold, Andrew E. "A First Base Hit and a Guilty Pleasure." Time.com (May 28, 2005).
- The Comics Reporter. Review of Guilty. March 14 2005.
- "Karl Stevens: the Comic Book Galaxy Interview."
- Karl Stevens: Whatever.
- The Phoenix: Karl Stevens and Gustavo Turner.
- AltWeekly Awards Winners.
- Carroll and Sons Past Exhibitions.