Guernica Magazine

Eli Valley: Let the Horror Speak for Itself

The cartoonist on taking back Judaism and the role of satire in America today. The post Eli Valley: Let the Horror Speak for Itself appeared first on Guernica.
Courtesy of Eli Valley

As memes have overtaken inking as the artistic outlet for the governmentally frustrated, the withering political cartoon is at an ebb in America. But New York cartoonist Eli Valley, less Garry Trudeau than Dank Meme Stash shitposter, leads a revival of pen-and-ink ribaldry.

Valley says he draws inspiration from the zaniness of Mad magazine, but I’d just as soon believe that he births his illustrations out of Ouija board orgies with Hieronymus Bosch. Like that fifteenth-century master of apocalyptic what-the-hell triptychs, Valley stuffs his images with dense grotesqueries. Every panel bursts with both his signature ink ribboning and his caustic wit, such that deciphering a whole cartoon can seem like an exercise in hermeneutics. Even so, Valley isn’t interested in doctrinal screeds. The targets of his pen are instead enforcers of orthodoxy, particularly the gatekeepers of Jewish identity.

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Courtesy of Eli Valley

Where other satirists might toe the line between sacrosanct and sacrilegious, Valley devours it whole. In 2014, he was released from his position as artist-in-residence at The Forward after lobbing a Molotov comic at the Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman. Now that we live under a president

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