All posts by Marguerite

The Late Child and Other Animals / L’Enfant inattendue

The Late Child and Other Animals Cover

 Written and colored by Marguerite Van Cook and adapted and drawn by James Romberger The Late Child and Other Animals, an original hardcover 180 page graphic auto/biography was released in November 2014 by Fantagraphics Books. See the video clip for a look inside the book.

The Late Child and Other Animals shares the features that made Marguerite Van Cook and James Romberger’s collaboration with David Wojnarowicz such a success: the lush color, the creative visual mapping of a psychic landscape. The hallmarks of this remarkable writer-artist team are intensified in this loose, often lovely, personal coming-of-age narrative, haunted by a dark undercurrent, that focuses on Van Cook and her mother.” – Hillary Chute, author of Outside the Box: Interviews with Contemporary Cartoonists

“The stories in The Late Child and Other Animals are beautiful haunts, the stories that were never told and have returned, fully alive and tense with implication. The stories are the intersection of a national history and the exquisitely drawn inner life of the late child herself, Marguerite. The world Van Cook and Romberger recreate is unsafe, unfolding, and shot through with joy.” – Amy Benson, author of The Sparkling-Eyed Boy

“Overwhelming, my first encounter with a graphic gathering of stories: I devoured them all in a huge gulp, from the detailed delights of fields and flowers to the fearsome tale of man and girl. Everything feels so very alive in these pages, words and colors and line!” – Mary Ann Caws, author of The Surrealist Look: An Erotics of Encounter, Surprised in Translation, and The Modern Art Cookbook

“This breathtaking auto/biography traces the life path of a mother, and then her daughter, as it weaves together fragments of each woman’s memories to form a careful mosaic. The images and accompanying text together reflect a unique and powerful lyricism, one that captures everything from the aftermath of a grisly, war-torn landscape to youthful friendship blossoming on the Coast of Normandy.  Reading The Late Child and Other Animals, one experiences how poetic the graphic novel form can be, how memories rendered through sharp lines, soft watercolors, and penetrating narrative prose can immerse you in worlds far, far away.” – Tahneer Oksman, author of Mourning the Family Album

“The Late Child and Other Animals is a deeply moving graphic memoir of motherhood and childhood, of the horrors of World War II and the terrors of family court; of the bliss of country vacations and the fear of being stalked. It’s a gorgeously drawn and deeply personally written collaboration between Marguerite Van Cook and James Romberger, the New York artistic couple who produced the powerful 7 Miles a Second. The Late Child is a rich and intelligent work, one of the lushest and most giving graphic novels in recent memory.”–Jason Sacks, Comics Bulletin

“Marguerite Van Cook is a legendary punk diva and award-winning poet whose knack for characters and prose will hit you straight in the heart. James Romberger’s art comes straight from the gut with wavering brushwork, emotive coloring and a deeply personal line… an explosive combo.”
– Bart Croonenborghs, Broken Frontier

” Yet, so sublime is the telling in its subtle interplay of perspectives—visual, vocal, lucidly ludic—that to deny these creators’ willful intent to invite our active rumination through its ample provision of entry—and departure—points would be selling them short. The Late Child and Other Animals breaks fresh ground for alternative ways to retrace the past; opens one up to the interplay of parallel lives.” Norman Douglas, Sensitive Skin Magazine

“Romberger’s style is a wonder of optical and dramatic economy, reminiscent of illustration in the leading modes of the mid-20th-century period the book portrays — loose and sketchy to convey the forward velocity and succinct sophistication of the West’s self-image, charming in its simplicity and assured in its catalogue of abbreviated emotions, encyclopedic in its observation of the abundant urban and country environments while ambitious in its formal experimentation and interpretive shadings…
Van Cook is a master of writing in displaced time, inhabiting the limited perspective of a moment in her life with utter vivid conviction while observing its meaning with the insight of contemporary context.” Adam McGovern, Fanchild.

“Written and colored by Marguerite Van Cook with art by her husband James
Romberger, this graphic memoir immediately grabs the reader with a
haunting opening sequence showing Van Cook’s mother and sister as they
survey the wreckage of their freshly bombed town. The book never loosens
its grip as the years pass and the story moves away from that
devastated urban environment.” Oliver Sava. The Onion AV Club

“Van Cook’s voice throughout is measured but piercing, and her colours
resplendent and flush, while cartoonist James Romberger adapts her
stories into kinetic and furiously imaginative compositions.” Sean Rogers, The Globe and Mail

“Marguerite Van Cook’s semi-autobiography The Late Child and Other Animals offers a stunningly beautiful glimpse of her life…The imagery is powerful on its own merit, but it’s merely one part of a story that is as poignant as it is charming.” Cody Ray Shafer, Under the Radar.

“Sensuous, philosophical, full of life, Van Cook’s voice wraps around Romberger’s art to create a whole, multifaceted experience that not only tells you what an experience was like, but helps you feel it.” John Seven

“In all, this is a quite extraordinary piece of work. It sweeps us flawlessly along from a hillside above Portsmouth burning in the Blitz to a Parisian café terrace at the end of the turbulent ’60s. Wonderfully conceived and skillfully executed, it holds its own both as literary and as graphic art.” Glenn Harcourt. Artillery Magazine.

See our News page for more recent reviews.

 L’Enfant inattendue  translated by Emilie and Barbara Lehin into French
 will be released in September 2014 by Editions çà et là.
L'Enfant inattendue cover



Oneness Revisited

blossomsmallOneness Revisited 2010

The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.  ~Tennessee Williams


These works speak to the multifaceted sublimity of nature. This series owes much to Barnett Newman as I  borrow his use of the famously termed “zip,” the strip of color that runs vertically through his often monochromatic paintings, which he believed offered a passage into the realms of the sublime or the limits of rationality.  In my work  the “zip” reveals the complexities that proliferate from the apparently simplest flowers to reveal the boundlessness of color, structural complexity, and the hidden. The flowers are photographed in my urban garden.

 Prints  48″ by 36 “.


Candelabra  Marguerite Van Cook


StarlilysRose Zip

Genetic Portraits: Products of Immortality.

This show opened the night before the World Trade attack of 911. Consequently, in wake of the tragedy it was received in unexpected ways. People came into the gallery which was just above Houston Street, just slightly outside the worst hit zone, to commiserate and to cry.  Ironic since the show was about preserving memory and the problems of storing ones genetic data for sale.

 Each image was part of a grouping that offered not only the portrait but the subjects molecular structure. It also included a DNA analysis for future recreation. This was placed into clay pots.

 I chose people from amongst my friends and peers for my subjects .

 I  wanted to show elements of their vocations, visual clues to assist in their recreation down the road. Hence my ballerina is depicted in a romantic pose.

The Herald was fun to paint because it simply represents a young man in his prime and I enjoyed the historicity of his pose which contrasts the post modern ubiquity of blue jeans with the classic quality of his pose.

 The Herald may be viewed at a larger scale

The Outsiders Compass Series and Film.

The Outsiders Compass is the first in a series that appeared in a show at The Proposition Gallery along with my film, “Funky Shui in New York.” Please Art in America Review at the bottom of the page.

Morpheus Loves Persephone,  print 48×36.

Golden boyNectar for the Golden Boy 36X48

Rosetta, 24X36

Keats 36X48

The Glasswhistlers EmbarkationThe Glass Whistlers Embarkation 36×48

outsiders compass at Harvard

Lateral Dommages at Harvard Business School Collection

 At Max Fish


 April 2004 Art In America

Marguerite Van Cook at The Proposition

Marguerite Van Cook is a New York artist who worked with DC Comics and formerly ran the Lower East Side gallery Ground Zero with her husband, James Romberger. Van Cook began work on the video Funky Shui in New York (2003) with the notion that she would travel through New York and improve the city’s energy potential through the Chinese practice of environmental correction known as feng shui. According to its practitioners, feng shui involves an understanding of geographic orientation and electromagnetic energy in the balancing of opposites and the releasing of blocked energy. Van Cook writes that she came to realize that improving the universe was an improbable task, and so begins this 8-minute video projection by acknowledging in on-screen text, “Some things are best left alone,” punctuated with the track of a percussive base line. Van Cook constructs a filmic ritual, viewed in jump cuts and montage, that incorporates images associated with feng shui, beginning with a vat of living frogs—in China, traditionally linked to wealth—moving in undulations of acidic purple- green water. In close-up, a woman (the artist) appears, costumed in headscarf, lipstick and sunglasses. Next comes imagery of a small courtyard of brick and stone and a narrow passageway, the sort of corridor associated in feng shui with the escalation of energy. The frogs appear again, and daffodils fill the screen. A figure veiled in white goes by. In the courtyard, the woman rocks in a folding chair, head thrown back, mouth stretched wide. A boy faces into a corner, then out, as though spinning. There is a jump cut to the bared back of a kneeling figure, the back gracefully inscribed with an ancient text concerning harmony and rulers. There are cuts to the veiled figure and flowers and to a nude man in carnival mask. The woman walks down Orchard Street, or somewhere similar, inspecting merchandise on the sidewalk. Through the legerdemain of digital editing, a postcard like still of the masked man recedes into the distance, falling away from a close-up of tulips, and then the man sits on a couch. And so it goes. In a text accompanying this exhibition, Van Cook describes her fascination with still images derived from film. For her, these moments exhibit a quality that surpasses the power of ordinary photographs. With that in mind, she intended Funky Shui as a source for the creation of such images. In an adjacent room, the artist installed four chromogenic color prints that are composites constructed of such frame grabs. These iconic images formally recall not only their immediate source but the work of generations of avant-garde filmmakers, from Bunuel and Dali to Jack Smith, shifting away from the confines of narrative to build structures made of dreams. —Edward Leffingwell

Nature and Metamorphosis Images.

This series came about as I was thinking about my relationship to nature, I saw a frog at night and when we were cycling in the Camargue in France, then we saw hundreds of them. I love te delicate quality of their skin tone. They invited me to play with ideas of anthropomorphism.

I was filming the whole time and some of the images are less pristine because they are caught in motion, or because the media conflict with the subject. Only so much is possible, but then pushing the low tech is something that I’ve often explored.

The relationship between the body and nature and how we understand energy led me to make this image. The distortion is inspired by the ideas of metamorphosis brought by the frog.

Body in change, dreams at night. More to be said about how this image was produced. Women’s issues that deserve a textual explanation.

I have left this page text light for the time being, because I want the images to be what speaks, at least for the moment.

My Band The Innocents on the “Sort It Out Tour” with The Clash and The Slits.

My band the Innocents  on Tour with the Clash
My band the Innocents on Tour with the Clash


My band The Innocents opened for The Clash with The Slits, some times alone;

 we  did a total of thirty six dates with one day off.

Marguerite Van Cook Clash Tour Lyceum 78 Innocents

The image below is on tour and features Sarah Hall on bass ( left) and myself (on the right),


Later,  I joined “Steppin Razor” an all girl reggae bans who toured the mid west and played at  Harlem World in opening for Yellowman. (I played bass ) .

Then back as a front person for Grade A, who played in New York and Belgium, with James Romberger pictured here (below) and Greg Van Cook on guitar.

Marguerite Van Cook and James Romberger Grade A

I’ll post more about this  later. Still love the Clash and the Slits.


“7 Miles a Second” by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook.


7 Miles a Second“7 Miles a Second’,  a collaborative project, is finally presented as it was intended with additional pages and the color restored from it’s watercolor originals.

A new soft cover edition is available from Ground Zero Books.

Buy it now:

“7 Miles a Second” has been getting a good response, particularly gratifying is its arrival at number 5 on the New York Times Best Sellers Hardcover Graphic Book List

Articles and Press for “7 Miles a Second” :

New York Times Art Beat has a short but welcome commentary.

Band of Thebes Wojnarowicz Life Story in Graphic Memoir ‘7 Miles a Second’

 X-TRA Escape Velocity by Glen Harcourt

Slate Book Review High Brow Trash by Noah Berlatsky

Sorry, Katari  7 Miles a Second by Katari Sporrong

Hyperallergic Inside David Wojnarowicz’s Comic Book by Jillian Steinhauer

Artforum James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook by Nicole Rudick

News 1.  The Book Reader by Dan Kois -State

L’Accoudoir   Spirale et 7 Miles a Second by Mikaël Demets (French text).