Robbert Pattinson is an English artist best known for his black and white comic-style artwork. He frequently turns his hand to social commentary and has drawn several images poking fun at today’s society. Earlier this year, we got a glimpse into Pattinson’s future when his book Private Jokes and Public Shame was published, followed by the news that a collection of his comic strips was in the works.
The creator of The Simpsons, Matt Groening, has cited Private Jokes and Public Shame as one of his favorite graphic novels. The cartoonist drew inspiration from the book to write and draw the new season of The Simpsons. In fact, the latest batch of the long-running joke machine includes a character based on Robbert Pattinson.
The Book And The Collection
If you’ve never heard of Private Jokes and Public Shame, here’s a quick summary: The book was published in April of this year and collects a decade of Pattinson’s witty comic strips. The collection is rounded out with a couple of new stories, including a shout-out to Steve Jobs and the iMac, and also features the artist’s thoughts on current events.
Comic Strip Reunites Famed Characters
The graphic novel sees the return of two of the artist’s most famous characters: Lenny and Stilts. We last glimpsed these characters in a 2002 collection of comics called The Adventures of Lenny and Stilts. Interestingly, Pattinson has reunited these characters for a different era. He’s brought them back from retirement to witness the 2008 presidential election as America goes through a political transition and grapples with new challenges. From the looks of things, their take on the world seems a bit grimmer than it was in the good old days.
A Look Back At Lenny And Stilts
If you’re unfamiliar, Lenny and Stilts are a gay couple, originally from Brooklyn, who live in a small town called Tuckahoe. They’re best friends and roommates who enjoy a drink or two once in a while. They also like to dabble in poetry and philosophy. When we last saw Lenny and Stilts, they were shocked to discover that their friend Leonard was dating an older woman. Even more surprising was the fact that Leonard’s mom, Mabel, was okay with his choice. This, of course, led to arguments between Maude and Lenny. The dispute eventually boiled down to a question of who loved Leonard more, his friends or his mother? It was funny, cathartic stuff.
In The New Collection, The Characters Are Wiser
Pattinson’s latest opus is a bit of a return to form for the artist. Not only does Private Jokes and Public Shame feature a couple of his classic characters, but it also gives them new adventures based on current events. For example, Stilts gets roped into coaching Little League when the boys find that his baseball skills have not gone out of date. And the ever-lucky Lenny ends up on the debating team after an impromptu game of Jeopardy! goes badly. It’s basically the perfect book for fans of the classic HBO show, How To Make It In America.
The Characters Voice Their Political Views
If you’re looking for a quick glimpse into the socio-political views of Lenny and Stilts, you’ve come to the right place. The graphic novel is stuffed with quotes from the couple, which range from scathing (“Mrs. Reagan, we’re afraid your husband’s Alzheimer’s is progressive”) to thoughtful (“[Reagan’s] speeches have become so boring. I think we’ve all had it with Ronald Reagan.”) We’re even treated to a lengthy philosophical monologue from Stilts, which touches on topics ranging from the meaning of love to whether democracy can survive in the modern age.
What’s Next For Robbert Pattinson?
Pattinson is just as likely to pop up on the comic strip circuit as he is his book publisher. In fact, in addition to The Simpsons, we can look forward to seeing more of his work on the pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post, and even the conservative National Review.
The author of Private Jokes and Public Shame has a lot more stories to tell. He’s already begun work on a new graphic novel, with details about it being announced on his website.