In this week’s Illustrated PEN, guest editor Robert Kirby features a piece by Eric Orner.

Roberty Kirby writes: “Eric Orner’s ‘Conversion on the Road to Malha’ is from a series of autobiographical stories set in Israel, where Orner was employed for a yearlong stint as an animator. Orner is a master at delineating cultural divides and human foibles, and in this piece in particular he’s as sharply observant and drolly humorous as ever. ”

“Conversion on the Road to Malha” was first published on

Eric Orner is a cartoonist whose comics and graphic stories have appeared in many publications, including Best American ComicsMcSweeney’sThe San Francisco Chronicle, and BuzzFeed. His long-running indie comic strip The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green was anthologized in five books, including The Completely Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green (2015), and was adapted into a feature film in 2006. He frequently illustrates the work of his brother, novelist Peter Orner, including a new memoir, Am I Alone Here (Catapult Press, November 2016). By day, Eric is an attorney who has worked for 10 years on the staff of former Congressman Barney Frank.


The Illustrated PEN is a weekly online series that aspires to be at the intersection of literature, journalism, and visual storytelling, where images and words come together in an ever-emerging and essential creative form. We’ll feature fiction and nonfiction graphic narratives, comics journalism and illustrated reportage, stories of social justice and personal stories that can’t be told through words alone.