Hands Up, Herbie! is a brilliant work of comic art. In his debut graphic novel, Joey Perr brings us close—maybe a bit too close—to his father, Herb. Herbie is a man at the crossroads, who journeys from a violent beginning in the Jewish, working-class New York of the 1950s, through the SOHO art world of the 1970s, to a reckoning with social responsibility and family life. The story is at times terrifying, at other times uplifting, but always told simply, humbly, and with perfect economy. If you care about comics, or if you don’t care about comics, but you care about human beings, you should read this book.”
— Seth Tobocman, founding editor of World War 3 Illustrated, author of War In The Neighborhood
“With deft stylistic economy, Joey Perr unfolds his father Herb’s escape from a childhood of poverty, crime, and brutality on the outermost fringe of Brooklyn, to become an artist, activist, and educator in Greenwich Village. The journey spans four generations, from the author back to his Eastern European–born great-grandfather, examining the multigenerational scars of immigration. The cultural distance Herbie travels from Brooklyn to Manhattan is as profound as that traversed by his old-world grandfather. A highly accessible and lively read, Hands Up, Herbie! is a reflection on the tension between our indelible heritage and our potential for self-determination.”
— Sabrina Jones, author of Our Lady of Birth Control: A Cartoonist’s Encounter with Margaret Sanger
Hands Up, Herbie! is a delightful, matter-of-fact graphic biography of artist and activist Herb Perr, in his words and his son Joey’s drawings. From Herb’s dysfunctional, petty- criminal family background, through intellectual awakening in the 1960s Lower East Side, personal struggles, art world involvement, to a professor’s life and founding member of PAD/D during the Reagan era, this is a powerful and moving story, imaged with empathy and without pathos.”
— Lucy Lippard, author of Get The Message? A Decade of Art for Social Change



BOMB Magazine: Intention and Chance Excerpt

 April, 2019

(This) excerpt takes place a few years after Herb left Brighton Beach for good, in the 1960s, on a full art scholarship to New York University. …My father enjoyed some success showing his paintings in galleries and museums, and worked as an assistant to Mark Rothko and Robert Motherwell. However, as time passed, the allure began to fade as Herb came to see the contemporary gallery scene as a capitalist enterprise, and became interested instead in harnessing art as a vehicle for social change.

Read full excerpt here.