Smash Pages Q&A | David Hajdu talks ‘A Revolution in Three Acts’

The music critic and writer discusses his new graphic novel that explores the lives and work of three of vaudeville’s biggest stars.

David Hajdu is an an acclaimed critic who’s best known as a music writer in magazines like Rolling Stone and The New Republic, Entertainment Weekly and The New York Review of Books, and in books like Lush Life and Positively 4th Street. Hajdu is also one of the great writers about comics.

His 2008 book The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America is simply one of the best books written about comics. In his book Heroes and Villains, in between articles and essays about Billy Eckstein and Dinah Washington, Mos Def and Joni Mitchell, were essays about Joe Sacco and Dan Clowes, Jules Feiffer and Marjane Satrapi.

Hajdu is currently the music editor at The Nation magazine and in the past two years he’s written two books very different from his previous work. 2020’s Adrienne Geffel was a novel written in the form of an oral history about an avant garde musician in 1980’s New York City. His new book is a graphic novel that Hajdu made in collaboration with his friend the artist John Carey. A Revolution in Three Acts: The Radical Vaudeville of Bert Williams, Eva Tanguay, Julian Eltinge looks at three of vaudeville’s biggest stars and the ways that their work was not what we typically think of vaudeville. Instead they were pushing boundaries and defying genres and expectations in ways that make them very modern. We recently spoke about the book and his work and trying to focus on creative work.

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‘Action 1000’ hardcover to include unpublished Siegel + Shuster story

Edited by Paul Levitz, ‘Action Comics #1000: 80 Years of Superman’ will include essays and past ‘Action Comics’ stories, including one by Superman co-creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster that was given to Marv Wolfman when he was a kid.

With plans for the 1,000th issue of Action Comics in place, DC Comics revealed more details about the hardcover collection they previously announced that will accompany the milestone issue.

Action Comics #1000: 80 Years of Superman, edited by former DC Publisher Paul Levitz, will feature several past Superman stories along with essays. The collection will also a never-before-published 12-page story from original Superman writer Jerry Siegel with art by the Joe Shuster Studio titled “Too Many Heroes.”

“The found Siegel and Shuster story is a true treasure with a fascinating backstory,” Levitz said. “Back when DC did regular tours of the New York office, it was common for fans to get original art that would have been otherwise disposed of as a tour souvenir. As a young fan on a tour Marv Wolfman found this Superman story and kept it all these years. It’s incredible to think that Marv not only rescued this unpublished story, he then went on to become one of DC’s most prolific writers, and shared the story with DC to publish as part of this special new collection.”

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