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Sunday Press Turns Comics World “Upside-Down” with New Book on Gustave Verbeek

A new collection from Sunday Press Books reprints a complete run of Gustave Verbeek’s “Upside-Downs of Little Lady Lovekins and Old Man Muffaroo” (1903-1905), digitally restored and presented in their original size and colors. Also featured are a complete run of Verbeek’s “Loony Lyrics of Lulu” (1910) and a sampling of his long-running “Terrors of the Tiny Tads” (1906-1914). A compilation of 25 early cartoons and paintings by Verbeek for magazines and illustrated books (1900-1915) fills out this large hard-bound volume. For collectors, there is an insert sheet of 12 “Tiny Tads” postcards, reprinting a 1907 promotional set.

Gustave Verbeek, as the book’s introduction explains, was a truly international artist: a Japanese citizen of European descent, he trained in Paris, then moved to New York to become one of the most original contributors to the emerging art of the comic strip. His Sunday comic, “The Upside-Downs,” is one of the wonders of the comic world. This fantasy story came in two parts: the first is read like a regular comic, then turn the page upside down and the images transform to illustrate the continuing story.

Verbeek was born in Japan, son of a Dutch educator and missionary. He studied art in Paris where he did his earliest cartooning as a part of the famed “Chat Noir” theatre group. He then moved to New York, creating cartoons and illustrations for Harper’s, Scribner’s, Century, Judge, and other magazines. His work in comics and illustration are a curious combination of Japanese, French, and American styles and cultures.

Verbeek illustrated numerous children’s books in the early 20th century, as well as working in Expressionist painting and monotypes. He created Sunday comic strips in the earliest years of the medium; first for Pulitzer’s New York World, then for the New York Herald, where he created his famed “Upside-Downs,” and continued to draw comics there for 15 years. His work has influenced, directly or indirectly, Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seuss, Charles Schulz, and many other illustrators and cartoonists.

“The Upside-Down World of Gustave Verbeek” includes a foreword by science and mathematics scholar Martin Gardner, who has authored nearly 100 books, including “The Annotated Alice in Wonderland” and numerous volumes on mathematical puzzles. His interests in children’s literature and puzzles merge in his admiration of Verbeek’s work. The book’s introduction is by comics scholar Jeet Heer, with contributions by “nonsense comics” specialist Marco Graziosi, and renowned comic strip historian, Richard Marschall.

This is the first complete collection of Verbeek’s “Upside Downs” and the only one in the original size and colors since 1904. Editor/Publisher Peter Maresca states, “As with our other Sunday Press collections, we restored the Sunday pages to simulate the look of the comic strips at they appeared 100 years ago.”

About Sunday Press Books

Sunday Press Books is a specialty publisher restoring and reprinting classic American comic strips in their original size and colors. The “The Upside-Down World of Gustave Verbeek” is the sixth book from Sunday Press. The first Sunday Press collection, “Little Nemo in Slumberland, So Many Splendid Sundays” (2005) received rave reviews and testimonials from around the world. Both this book and its sequel, “Little Nemo in Slumberland, Many More Splendid Sundays” received the coveted Will Eisner Award for Excellence in Comics. The first four Sunday Press publications received a total of seven Eisner nominations. Sunday Press collections have been printed in French, Spanish, and Russian editions. Also from Sunday Press in 2009 is L. Frank Baum’s, “Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz.” More information is available at

“The Upside-Down World of Gustave Verbeek”
120 pages, 11 x 16 inches, color, $60
ISBN – 09768885-7-2
EAN – 978-0-9768885-7-4

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