Cover Image: All The Answers

All The Answers

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Member Reviews

This graphic memoir from the son of a 40's celebrity has an interesting premise. Kupperman's father was a child prodigy who appeared on the radio program "Quiz Kids" and had considerable fame during WWII. Now, the man with a brilliant mind has dementia. However, this novel lacks a lot of depth. It's super short (I finished within a few hours), so I didn't get to know the characters very well or what the true conflicts were. I've seen this genre done very well (see "Fun Home"), but this one just doesn't make the grade, even with some great subject material.

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I gave this a try because I've enjoyed Kupperman's work before. I mostly know him as a humorist, so this was definitely not what I expected.

But I am so glad I read it.

On the surface, this is the story of his father, Joel Kupperman, and the circumstances surrounding his role as a professional Quiz Kid in the 1940's. But it's also about Joel's descent into dementia and Michael's burning need to understand his father. I found myself reading the text and absorbing the art over and over so I could dig deep into the complicated feelings packed i to this book.

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The tragedy of many child actors is one that our generation is very well familiar with. They shine bright but as they mature into adulthood many are haunted by their theatrical pasts. Some turn to drug or alcohol abuse but many choose to spend the remainder of their days living happily in obscurity, shying away from the spotlight.

When I think about child stars I always think of them in the context of movies and television but there was an entire era that before this that also included child stars: the radio era. In the time of radio there was no "child prodigy" more famous than Joel Kupperman, a young boy that could do complex mathematical equations in his head on the show Quiz Kids. All the Answers is a graphic novel written by Joel's son, Michael Kupperman, a memoir that not only preserves his father's past before dementia completely robs his mind but also allows Michael a glimpse into why his father was the way he was.

I have never been into graphic novels before but the premise for this book instantly intrigued me and I am so glad that I took a chance on it. To see pictures without seeing the actual photos took me a few pages to get used to but once I did I flew through this book within an hour. Michael includes his own views on certain parts of his dads story as well as direct quotes from an interview that he did with his dad a few years back and also his aunt, who was also on the game show for a short period of time. Your heart breaks for both Michael, who had struggled with why his dad was the way he was his entire life, and for his dad, who has fought his entire life to escape this stigma.

Not only is Michael Kupperman a talented artist but I can confidently say that he is a decent writer as well. Though this graphic novel is short, and not eloquently written, it still packs quite the punch with a mix of emotions that you can tell comes from the heart. What I fell in love with the most was the historical aspect of the story. Joel was on Quiz Kids when it was on radio, during the second World War, and continued on when it transitioned onto television. He was only the show from ages 6-16, having spent his entire childhood in front of an audience and all because of his mothers aspirations of a life on the stage and not his own. So sad.

Before reading All the Answers I had no desire for the radio era but I admit that my curiosity has now been piqued. Sadly there is not as much information out there as you would think which is why I am so thankful to Michael Kupperman for writing this wonderful memoir.

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I enjoyed this, it felt very Fun Home esque, except for it was much more about the father than the child. It read quickly, and was something I knew nothing about since it was far before my time. Very interesting personal subject matter.

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This is an important story about the real life of famed radios & TV quiz kid Joel Kupperman written and drawn by his son Michael. It’s sad and real and quite moving in parts. The drawing style is plain and crude, and the story comes across rather coldly. It’s an odd book that I wish I could appreciate more.

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I like to think I know all about radio int he 1930-1950s. I have listened to, and still listen to, recordings of shows gone by, such as the Jack Benny Show, or Burns and Allen, or the Loan Ranger. And yet, I have never heard of the Quiz Kids, of which this story is about.

The author does, what good children do, and try to find out their family history before it is swallowed up by time, and memory. In this case, Michael, is trying to find how his father, who was a child prodigy on a game show during the war years, went from those heights of fame, to a reluctant, and introvert teacher. Micheal does as much research as he can on his own, but also talks to his father about it. There is deep pain from being a performing monkey, and it is something he has carried with him all his life.

The pictures, drawn from photographs, depict the time of his father's childhood. When he draws in the present time, the pictures still keep that angular style, so that his father loks as though he came from a photograph.

<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-411" src="" alt="Quiz kids" />

It is a moving and sad biography, as sometimes happens when children lose their childhood due to their stage mother's ambition to get them out there. In doing the work, his son learns about himself.

Fairly quick read, but sad and poignant.

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.

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This graphic-novel format pinpoints an interesting time in history through the perspective of the home front war efforts and national radio and TV programs. It's also a compelling and evocative look at the relationships between undemonstrative parents of the WWII era and their children who were taught to ask for more and to focus on themselves.

Read this for the historical experience: The information is quite engaging. Illustrations are often surprisingly photo-like and realistic. Sometimes, though, the illustrations are flat and one-dimensional. And sometimes the story is more about the author than about his father.

But don't read All the Answers expecting a nuanced and sympathetic recounting of Joel Kupperman's experience as a Quiz Kid. Informative, yes. Interesting, yes. Empathetic, no.

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All The Answers was an educational graphic novel. I learned about Michael Kupperman's father, which was pop culture from before my time. I felt the education was unnecessary, though, except to learn a sad story about controlling parents. I would have liked to have seen his relationship with his dad explored more, but there wasn't much there because of how quiet his father was. The art was well done and the story held my interest. Overall, I'd give it 3/5 stars.

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**I received access to this title via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

Michael Kupperman is the son of child prodigy and <i>Quiz Kid</i> contestant Joel Kupperman, who reached the height of fame in the 1940s on his mathematical prowess (and the machinations of a classic stage mother), came to understand his exploitation and the corruption of the game show industry in the 1950s, and retreated from public life into a career in the academy. Michael didn't grow up in the shadow of his father's past glory; in fact, his father withheld details on his childhood and the scars his experiences left on his psyche. Not until Joel was diagnosed with dementia did Michael come to interrogate and understand his father's past. Several stories braid together in Joel Kupperman's biography: the power of pop culture as a propaganda machine to combat antisemitism both at home and abroad during World War II, the exploitation of child prodigies for entertainment and propaganda purposes, the fickle nature of fame and public opinion, the 1950's quiz show scandals, the obligation (or not) of parents to guide their children by sharing their own journeys. The narrative is largely related through text with accompanying imagery, which has an alternatively documentary and cartoon feel with visual transcriptions of photos for much of the historical content around Joel's life and iconically heavy, high-contrast line work for contemporary and subjective elements of the memoir that convey Michael's experiences. It earns a spot next to other graphic memoirs about interrogating the (potentially unknowable) lives of one's parents such as <i>Fun Home</i>, <i>Are You My Mother?</i>, <i>The Hunting Accident</i>, and <i>Maus</i>, even as the linework and visual narration is deceptively simpler than those prior works.

This held special resonance for me as a child in gifted education programming, a teacher, researcher and supervisor of gifted education programs, and a former game show contestant. The push - self-imposed or externally driven - to engage in opportunities to perform exceptional talent for the delight (or at least the recognition) of others is an unforgiving force to be reckoned with in the drive for self-actualization, especially on the tight-rope walk between authentic performance and exploitation.

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Michael Kupperman presents a brief but informative biography of his father, Joel Kupperman. Prior to picking this up, I had no idea about the cultural phenomenon of the Quiz Kids in World War II. The book explores the ways in which the Quiz Kids were manufactured to be something of a propaganda item, presenting the friendly faces and voices of Jewish kids to Americans in an attempt to counter the anti-Semitism of the day.

Michael Kupperman speculates a bit about his father's past, which is unavoidable due to his father's gaps in memory - something Michael believes to be a result of the trauma he endured as a result of being presented for so long as a public spectacle. This is a valuable slice of history and kind of a bittersweet biography, as you can see Kupperman longing to know his father on a deeper level but reconciling himself to the fact that this may not be possible.

I received access to this title via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Families are messed up. Even, maybe especially, famous ones.

The author of All the Answers is Michael Kupperman. He is a famous, Eisner Award-winning artist and writer. However, he continues to be haunted by his father’s aloof attitude toward him throughout his childhood and adolescence. The author believes that his father’s famous background as the longest running quiz kid may have mentally harmed his father from a young age.

Quiz Kids was a radio show during WWII and continued as a television show in the fifties. Joel Kupperman was the youngest quiz kid. He was a math wizard with a professed IQ of 200+. His mother was the stereotypical stage mother. She took him to nightclubs and together they hobnobbed with all the famous stars of the day (Milton Berle, Orson Welles, Rita Hayworth, Jack Benny, etc.).

All the Answers depicts the author’s perception of what happened to his father when suddenly thrust into fame. Unfortunately, his father never wanted to talk about his childhood and now cannot due to dementia. His grandmother’s scrapbooks provide some answers. But much of the book seems based more on speculation rather than fact. However, that is missing the point. The setting is Joel’s childhood but the mystery is how Michael will deal with his own unusual childhood. Will he become aloof with his own son or will he break the family dynamic?

All the Answers has a great plot that veers into many areas. It’s about families, fame’s costs, dementia, and child actor mental abuse. It is an extremely compelling read. I downloaded it and read it in one sitting. The art is fabulous.

I liked it more than Fun Home and could see other fans of that graphic novel also enjoying this one. Highly recommended. 5 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Gallery 13, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

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This was a very meandering look at a man's father who used to be famous, but really doesn't remember any of it. I'm not sure what the point was.

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