• Review: "...[The Search for Smilin' Ed] closely resembles a bad acid trip I had several years back while watching Howdy Doody, old Fleischer cartoons and listening to Art Bell on Coast to Coast AM..., and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. But it comes together in a grand and epic fashion, telling a tale that showcases a vintage psychedelic style in terms of both narrative and art. ... The story is alternately hilarious and mildly disturbing in a Philip K. Dick sort of way. ... It’s a hilariously disturbed delight for the eyes and an enjoyable piece of work from a legend in the field." – Chad Derdowski, Mania
• Review: "It’s the experimentation of the work found within (and without) The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century AD, which excites me the most. This is the work of a young artist who is playing with arrangement of panel, with color and form, and coming up with his own thing. ... There's lots to appreciate in this collection of avant garde comics." – Christopher Irving, Graphic NYC
One of the highlights of The Search for Smilin' Ed (aside from the story and artwork, of course) is the full-color two-way foldout illustration of the Kim Deitch Universe, with an annotated guide in the back of the book. We thought it might be nice to give people an advance opportunity to explore this amazing illustration and familiarize themselves with Deitch's mind-bogglingly rich and complex world. Click the images above to open big honking JPGs in a new browser window (they're large files, so please be patient while they download). Here's what the foldout looks like in person:
Originally created in 1997 and 1998 for the underground anthology Zero Zero, The Search for Smilin’ Ed is the latest of Kim Deitch’s graphic novels to showcase his obsessive burrowing into the nooks and crannies of vintage American popular culture.
Where Boulevard of Broken Dreams focused on the earliest days of the animation industry, Alias the Cat delved into the history of comic strips, and “Molly O’Dare” (collected in Shadowland) concerned vintage movie serials, The Search for Smilin’ Ed explores the wacky world of children’s TV shows.
Launched on his latest investigation by a remark from his brother about a shared childhood favorite (“Y’know, I heard that when Smilin’ Ed died... his body was NEVER found!”), Deitch begins to uncover some truly amazing things about the kiddie-show host and his malevolent sidekick, Froggy the Gremlin. Meanwhile, Deitch’s muse and nemesis Waldo the Cat abandons Deitch to hang out with some demon buddies, and soon both Waldo and Deitch are closing in on the mysteries of Smilin’ Ed and Froggy.
Ranging across the entire 20th century, replete with flashbacks, stories within stories, and guest appearances from other Deitch regulars, The Search for Smilin’ Ed is a narrative whirligig that shows Deitch at his wildest and woolliest. For those whose heads have started to spin at the complexity of Deitch's mythology, we've included a full-color two-way fold-out guide to "The Kim Deitch Universe," and Deitch scholar Bill Kartalopoulos offers a lengthy essay on the ins and outs of this ever-evolving, ever-expanding world where fantasy, reality, and satire combine, clash, and are sometimes downright indistinguishable.
Bonus! Deitch has also created a brand new story starring Waldo in his 21st century post-Alias the Cat state of domestic bliss, stumbling across an army of (French-) talking beavers. Of course, there’s a story behind that...
“Kim Deitch has created a private world as fully realized in its own way as Faulkner’s. He’s an American original, a spinner of yarns whose beautifully structured pages and intricate plots conjure up a haunting and haunted American past.” – Art Spiegelman
• Review: "Ultimately, ...despite the refreshing sexual frankness that Hernandez proceeds with, there is much sadness and heartbreak throughout [High Soft Lisp]. ...[O]ne wonders if the lingering bittersweetness at the end makes more sense in middle age, than it would in youth... Good stuff, of course." – Mark London Williams, The SF Site: Nexus Graphica
• Profile:NBC New York's Courtney Humiston reports from Dash Shaw & Frank Santoro's discussion at NYC's McNally Jackson bookstore a couple of days ago: "The two artists discussed the creative process: 'photo references are for suckers,' says Santoro; why Japanese comics are better: 'I like that the drawings are sh---y,' says Shaw. 'They care more about telling the story than how to draw eyes'; and why even the old ladies in France love comic books: 'It's weird that [at conventions in Europe] not everyone has tattoos,' says Santoro."
During Jaime Hernandez's recent visit to NYC for the MoCCA festival, The Village Voice's R.C. Baker took him to MOMA (making the unfailingly-punctual artist late for his signing at our table) and then wrote this cover story about it for this week's issue. The Maggie-and-Hopey-in-the-Big-Apple cover illo is the icing on the cake. (Also of note in the issue: "The Band Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb" by Ward Sutton.)
More Wally Wednesday fun! We've posted this Tim Hensley-created animation of Wally Gropius before, but did you know there are more sizes to be had? Show your Wally love by downloading one of these banners and putting it on your website/blog/profile page/etc., linked back to:
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