A man of few words: Alan Van Dine

He presents excerpts from his latest book, “Fateful Encounters: Fourteen of the World’s Shortest Graphic Novels”

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Squirrel Hill resident Alan Van Dine is a former advertising executive. He frequently has written for newspapers and magazines and is the author of eight other books, which are as varied in theme as the illustrations in "Fateful Encounters."

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His first was a children's book in verse, "Can You Imagine?" Next came "Unconventional Builders," a volume on unusual architecture, including haunted houses, birds' nests, Beowulf's mead house and Shakespeare's Globe Theater.

He also wrote a satire on advertising, a case study in documentary photography, a volume of prose and verse and, more recently, a book of light verse and illustrations, "If Instead of Apes We Had Come from Grapes, We Wouldn't Just Yet Be Wine."

In doing single illustrations for that book, he found himself constantly distracted with graphic story ideas, such as "The Awful Truth." Finally, he had enough of these for a book.

"Fateful Encounters" is a work of few words. The illustrations tell brief -- some, very brief --stories.

Alan Van Dine ( says he's primarily a writer who took up cartooning as a sideline. "Fateful Encounters," published by Word Association Publishers, is available from

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