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Long Story Short: Turning Famous Books into Cartoons


A collection of cartoons, illustrations, and paintings that condense the complicated narratives of famous books into one-page works of art.

$17.95 $13.46

What people are saying…

“The artists’ ability to communicate with a picture and just a few words conveys the power and directness of the best cartoons.”

“A subversive volume that translates a series of complex works of literature into a single-page illustration . . . A variety of artists rise to a unique literary and visual challenge.”
Kirkus Reviews

“One of the most fascinating books I have had the pleasure to ‘flip through’ in the past decade or more!”
Exclusive Magazine

“Mr. Fish’s chameleon-like versatility makes him the Ween of cartooning. He and his band of accomplices jolt you from one literary world to the next, each illustration like a little puzzle testing your cultural literacy. A short-attention-span joyride.”
—Jen Sorensen, Herblock Prize–winning cartoonist, the Nib, Daily Kos, and the Nation

“Words fail me when I try to explain why Long Story Short is so brilliant, which I guess is the whole point of the book! Why talk over Beethoven (he wouldn’t be able to hear you, anyway) or yammer on about poetry when a mute sunset can do it better? Here is art from an incredibly diverse group of cartoonists, painters, and illustrators that speaks for itself on literature’s most novel ideas—now shut up and listen!”
—Bob Mankoff, former cartoon editor of the New Yorker

“Mr. Fish’s ingenious collection of cartoon distillations of famous books shows why print editors so fear the art form. These succinct drawings by Fish and his artist collaborators really ARE worth a thousand words, and in Tolstoy’s case, many more!”
—Signe Wilkinson, Pulitzer Prize–winning cartoonist, Philadelphia Inquirer and the Daily News


The Catcher in the Rye. Lolita. Moby-Dick. Infinite Jest. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. A Room of One’s Own. Native Son. These are but a handful of classic works spectacularly distilled by Mr. Fish and a very talented group of painters, illustrators, graphic designers, and political cartoonists into succinct snapshots that are at times funny, sad, inspiring, rude, crude, beautiful, profound, stomach-turning, and mind-blowing.

Includes original artwork from: Mr. Fish, Ted Rall, Stephanie McMillan, Sarah Awad, Eli Valley, Wes Tyrell, Tamara Knoss, Keith Henry Brown, Sam Henderson, Lodi Marasescu, Surag Ramachandran, Tami Knight, Eric J. Garcia, Marissa Dougherty, Siri Dokken, John G., Andy Singer, Tara Seibel, Gary Dumm, Clare Kolat, Nate Ulsh, Benjamin Slyngstad, Ron Hill, JP Trostle, John Kovaleski, and Beth McCaskey.

Table of Contents


The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger; illustrated by Tamara Knoss
Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
Native Son, by Richard Wright; illustrated by Keith Henry Brown
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley; illustrated by Eli Valley
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, by Tom Wolfe; illustrated by Wes Tyrell
The New Testament, by Paul the Apostle
Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
Moby-Dick, by Herman Melville
The Rings of Saturn, by W. G. Sebald; illustrated by Sarah Awad
Hamlet, by William Shakespeare
The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde; illustrated by Sam Henderson
The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka
The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne; illustrated by Ted Rall
Roget’s Thesaurus, by Peter Mark Roget; illustrated by Lodi Marasescu
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl; illustrated by Surag Ramachandran
Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert
The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels; illustrated by Stephanie McMillan
Ozymandias,” by Percy Bysshe Shelley and Horace Smith; illustrated by Tami Knight
How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
I am JoaquÍn / Yo soy Joaquín, by Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales; illustrated by Eric J. Garcia
The Anarchist Cookbook, by William Powell; illustrated by Marissa Dougherty
A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez; illustrated by Siri Dokken
Understanding Media, by Marshall McLuhan
Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad; illustrated by John G.
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami; illustrated by Andy Singer
Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare
Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes
Harry Potter, by J. K. Rowling
Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy; illustrated by Tara Seibel
Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison; illustrated by Gary Dumm
A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn
The Stranger, by Albert Camus
A Boy’s Own Story, by Edmund White
A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole
Animal Farm, by George Orwell; illustrated by Clare Kolat
Paradise Lost, by John Milton
Howl, by Allen Ginsberg
Metamorphoses (Pygmalion), by Ovid
The Man Who Died, by D. H. Lawrence
Tales of Ordinary Madness, by Charles Bukowski; illustrated by Nate Ulsh
Oedipus Rex, by Sophocles
Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury; illustrated by Benjamin Slyngstad
Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
Civilization and its Discontents, by Sigmund Freud
1984, by George Orwell
Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace
The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway; illustrated by Ron Hill
The Armies of the Night, by Norman Mailer
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
Notes from Underground, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank
The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien; illustrated by J. P. Trostle
On Narcissism, by Sigmund Freud
A Room of One’s Own, by Virginia Woolf
The War Prayer, by Mark Twain
On the Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin
The Invisible Man, by H. G. Wells; illustrated by John Kovaleski
American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis
Why I am Not A Christian, by Bertrand Russell
On the Road, by Jack Kerouac
Fear of Flying, by Erica Jong; illustrated by Beth McCaskey
Wikipedia, by Everybody
War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy 

*All illustrations by Mr. Fish except where noted

Listen to an interview with Mr. Fish at DIY MFA.

Book Details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Published: 7/7/20
  • IBSN: 9781617757969
  • e-IBSN: 9781617758355


MR. FISH lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Occasionally, he laughs his head off. His mother has no idea what he’s up to. She cries easily. For more information, date him. Long Story Short is his latest work.

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