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Category >> Kim Deitch

Diaflogue: Kim Deitch exclusive Q&A
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Kim DeitchDiaflogue 3 Jun 2010 8:50 AM

This interview was conducted via telephone and transcribed by Comics Journal editorial intern Ian Burns and proofread by TCJ's Kristy Valenti and myself. Thanks to all! –Ed.

The Kim Deitch Universe

IAN BURNS: One of the new features [in The Search for Smilin’ Ed] is this huge fold-out here, and I was wondering, now that there’s over one hundred characters in your own personal universe, does having it that large affect how you create new stories at all? 

KIM DEITCH: Well, it certainly gives me a lot of advantage in terms of I’ve got all these characters and I can use them in stories, but I’ll tell you, bein’ a character of mine isn’t all that great [Burns laughs]. If I haven’t got a good idea for ‘em, forget about it. A character’s only as good as he is contributing to the storyline that I want to tell. The only one that’s really lasted all this time is Waldo, and even him I’ll lay him off for years at a time if I don’t feel I’ve got a good story.  

That’s why I think those stories are pretty good is because I never tried to force one. I never got up in the morning and go [adopts southern drawl]: “Hmm, I’m gonna make me a Waldo story!” [Burns laughs]. I don’t do that: to me, the play’s the thing, and it’s got to be a good yarn. 

BURNS: In the middle of creating a story, do you think: “I could see the story from a different angle.” In the TCJ #296 interview, Gary [Groth] cited the Rashômon Effect. 

DEITCH: God knows that’s a gimmick that’s gotten plenty of mileage. 

I will say this: in “The Sunshine Girl,” the long story in Deitch's Pictorama, that character Eleanor — I got to like her so much that I’d say the story I’m working on now was suggested by the fact that by the time I was nearing the end of that story, I got to like that character so much I hated to give her up. But ironically, now that I’m doing the story she doesn’t really have that much to do with it [Burns laughs]. At the beginning, discovering this manuscript, and then there’s an epilogue at the end and this woman occasionally mentions her by name as she’s describing something she did, so....Well, you just have to see where things go, you know? I had it in my mind that I’d like to do another story with her and maybe I will but, oddly, I didn’t really do that at all. I just used it as a jumping-off point for another story with a new character. 

BURNS: Great. Back on the fold-out: Did you go through any in-depth laying-out process for all these characters, or...? 

DEITCH: When I submitted the idea to Kim that we do The Search for Smilin’ Ed, the reason I did it is I figured this one I’m working on now is going to take me so long, I’d like to have something come out in the meantime, so people don’t forget about me. But, he said, “OK, I think this will make a good book, but you know what, I’d like to have an article in there talking about ‘The Kim Deitch Universe.’” 

Now, I didn’t make that term up. But you know the Marvel Universe: it just means the interconnectedness of all my characters. And when he said that, I immediately, feeling cocky [Burns laughs], said: “Well, hell, if you guys are going to have an article about The Kim Deitch Universe, the least I can do is draw it!” [Burns laughs.]  

Having said this, then I’m going, “Oh my God what have I said? How the hell am I gonna draw that?” [Laughter.] But, in a way that worked out, because I even spun off my own uncertainty: I was proud of the thing I worked up, it’s almost like a story but it isn’t a story. It leads you into it. Along the way I got the high concept: “let’s have it all happening inside my head.” 

BURNS: Right, that’s what I was just going to say: it’s all centered around that image. 

DEITCH: Yeah, and once that happened, then I really started catching fire. I did several elaborate sketches of it, and it wasn’t exactly pure fun, but it was happening. I knew I was onto something good and it came out pretty good, I think. It was hell: I had two computers cave in under me because that was a huge file. I had to get Paul Baresh to cut it in half. If you look at the Universe ones that they printed separately, you look really careful in the middle you can see where there’s a slight differentiation, ‘cause we were doing it in two hunks. Pretty much the biggest file I ever worked on. “Sex, Drugs, and Rock ’n’ roll” for Kramers [Ergot]; those were bigger, but they didn’t give me the trouble that this one did. “Kim Deitch Universe” was really blood, sweat and tears. But not the concept, so much, once I got going on that.  

But the real bitch was colorin’ it, which usually is sort of fun for me. But I never had such a big busy thing. Like I said, first I started on my wife’s computer and it crashed, and then I went over to the other computer...it was giving me all kinds of trouble till I cut it in half. 





[Read more...]


Kim Deitch and Megan Kelso at the Strand on June 24th!
Written by Eric Reynolds | Filed under Megan KelsoKim Deitchevents 1 Jun 2010 1:16 PM
Artichoke Tales by Megan Kelso - The Search for Smilin' Ed by Kim Deitch
 
KIM DEITCH AND MEGAN KELSO CELEBRATE THEIR NEW GRAPHIC NOVELS AT THE STRAND ON JUNE 24
 
Fantagraphics Books and New York's The Strand Bookstore are proud to present an evening with acclaimed graphic novelists Kim Deitch and Megan Kelso on June 24, talking about and signing their new graphic novels THE SEARCH FOR SMILIN' ED (by Deitch) and ARTICHOKE TALES (by Kelso). 

Kelso will be making a rare return to New York since moving back to her hometown of Seattle, WA a few years ago. She will give a multimedia talk called "Big and Small": How do you construct a story that includes the big wide world, history, culture, sweeping events like war and political change, but that also includes personal, intimate character-driven things like friendship, family relationships, love, sex, babies and dying? How do you meld the two together into a believable whole? How do you humanize important historical players, kings, queens and presidents, and also show how the personal lives of ordinary people are affected by grand events that take place outside their doors? This are the essential questions that Kelso asked herself throughout the creation of Artichoke Tales, and she answers them  through examples of her own work, as well as other artists who are engaged with similar issues, from Joe Sacco to Lynda Barry.

Meanwhile, underground comix and New York legend Deitch will present a visual tour through his "universe," which features a a sprawling, multi-generational cast of characters both fictional and real, spanning comics and animation history of the 1920’s and 30’s through the present day, with a particular focus on his latest epic, The Search for Smilin' Ed. Deitch will explicate his incredibly intricate yet organic page and panel constructions, which he employs with unparalleled excellence in the creation of structurally complex narratives concerning equally complex characters. 

These lively talks will be followed by a question and answer session with the audience and book signing.

Listing information:

WHO: Megan Kelso and Kim Deitch
WHAT: Multimedia talk and book signing

WHERE: The Strand Bookstore
, 12th & Broadway, New York, NY
WHEN: Thursday, June 24, 7PM

ARTICHOKE TALES is the long-awaited graphic novel from Megan Kelso, a six-years-in-the-making family saga spanning three generations and an entire continent. This coming-of-age story is about a young girl named Brigitte whose family is caught between the two warring sides of a civil war, taking place in a world that echoes our own, but whose people have artichoke leaves instead of hair. Influenced in equal parts by Little House on the Prairie, The Thorn Birds, Dharma Bums, and Cold Mountain, Kelso weaves a moving story about family amidst war. Kelso’s visual storytelling, uniquely combining delicate linework with rhythmic, musical page compositions, creates a dramatic tension between intimate, ruminative character studies and the unflinching depiction of the consequences of war and carnage, lending cohesion and resonance to a generational epic. This is Kelso’s first new work in four years; the widespread critical reception of her previous work, THE SQUIRREL MOTHER, makes Artichoke Tales one of the most eagerly anticipated graphic novels of 2010.

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. A long-gone children’s show host propels Deitch into a pop-culture investigation.

Where Deitch's earlier books focused on the earliest days of the animation industry (in THE BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS), the history of comic strips (ALIAS THE CAT), and vintage movie serials (SHADOWLAND), THE SEARCH FOR SMILIN' ED explores the surreal landscape 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 mysterious things about the kiddie-show host and his malevolent sidekick, Froggy the Gremlin. Ranging across the entire twentieth century, replete with flashbacks and stories within stories, The Search for Smilin’ Ed! is a narrative whirligig that shows Deitch at his wildest and woolliest.



Now in stock: The Search for Smilin' Ed! by Kim Deitch
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under new releasesKim Deitch 26 May 2010 11:04 AM

Just arrived in our warehouse and ready to ship:

The Search for Smilin' Ed! by Kim Deitch

The Search for Smilin' Ed!
by Kim Deitch

162-page black & white 6" x 8.75" softcover (with full-color foldout) • $16.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-324-8

Add to CartMore Info & Previews

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

Download an 11-page PDF of Bill Kartalopoulos's Introduction (1 MB) and an EXCLUSIVE 10-page PDF excerpt of the first part of the story (1.4 MB).

Also available now:

The Search for Smilin' Ed! + Deitch's Pictorama

Order The Search for Smilin' Ed! + Deitch's Pictorama together for a discounted price of $29.99 (a savings of about 6 bucks)!

New Comics Day 5/26/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under New Comics DayKim DeitchJoe DalyBen Schwartz 26 May 2010 10:28 AM

Three new compact softcovers wending their way into comic shops this week. Plentiful previews, bonus downloads, and more information about each book await you at the links below. Your local comic shop can divulge availability at their particular establishment if contacted in advance. Read on to see descriptions and comments from the comics bloggers:

The Best American Comics Criticism

The Best American Comics Criticism
Edited by Ben Schwartz; cover illustrations by Drew Friedman

360-page 6" x 9" illustrated (b&w) softcover • $19.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-148-0

"Definitive title notwithstanding, this 360-page Ben Schwartz-edited volume actually concerns itself with writing pertinent to (though not exclusively concerned with) the maturation and rise in public consciousness of North American ‘literary’ comics..." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics

"Disclaimer: I've got an essay in this Ben Schwartz-edited anthology, which features criticism as well as interviews and historical pieces." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance

The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon refers you to his interview with Ben Schwartz, which he prefaced by saying "It's the kind of volume that starts fights... — but that's okay and it's part of the fun. There's a lot of good work in the book and one or two absolutely inspired choices. Anyone with an interest in comics should at least give it a flip-through, and anyone with an interest in writing about the medium should use it as a springboard to discover a host of excellent new favorites."

"...[N]othing but transcriptions of Twitter feeds, message boards and comics blogs, mostly dealing with Stephanie Brown and how messed up Identity Crisis was. Oh wait a minute, I’m thinking of The Worst American Comics Criticism, the volume of comics writing I’m editing, in my mind." – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama

Dungeon Quest, Book 1 by Joe Daly

Dungeon Quest, Book 1
by Joe Daly

136-page black & white 6" x 8.25" softcover • $12.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-347-7

"...[T]he 136-page latest from the always-fun Joe Daly..., a hugely vulgar quest adventure imposing video game RPG tropes on the aggressive banality of suburban navigation..." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics

"Joe Daly's latest, an Angouleme Festival essential book this year in its French-language iteration, is so deeply weird it makes his oddball Hergé pastiche in his last work look like actual, straight-forward Hergé." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

"I’m not doing a very good job of describing it, I know, but that’s only because it’s so damn weird. Hopefully I’ll do a better job when I sit down to write a formal review. In the mean time, give it a flip-through tomorrow! It has a character named Lash Penis in it!" – J. Caleb Mozzocco, Newsarama

The Search for Smilin' Ed! by Kim Deitch

The Search for Smilin' Ed!
by Kim Deitch

162-page black & white 6" x 8.75" softcover (with full-color foldout) • $16.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-324-8

"Nice – a spankin’ new Fantagraphics collection of one of the major ’stray’ Kim Deitch works, a 1997-98 serial from the pages of the publisher’s old funnybook anthology series Zero Zero. Join your humble artist/narrator and Waldo the cat as they explore the demon-visited world of children’s programming..." – Joe McCulloch, Comics Comics

"A major collection from an A-List comics talent. This time out the great Kim Deitch examines the nature of entertainment through the ways audiences encounter, process and recall it. The joyful image-making couldn't be more entertaining to drink in." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter







Kim Deitch silkscreen for Desert Island
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Kim Deitch 16 May 2010 7:06 PM

Kim Deitch Desert Island silkscreen print

Limited quantities of Kim Deitch's silkscreen print for his appearance at Desert Island are now available for purchase in the Desert Island Internet Web Shoppe. 3 colors, UFOs, spiralling eyeballs, only 30 bucks!

Kim Deitch & Jim Woodring coming (separately) to Desert Island
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Kim DeitchJim Woodringevents 30 Apr 2010 11:32 AM

Kim Deitch print process

Mark your calendars! Desert Island in Brooklyn welcomes Kim Deitch for a signing and celebration of his new collection of The Search for Smilin' Ed! on Friday, May 14, 2010. Then, on Saturday, June 19, Jim Woodring will be in the house to meet fans and sign his new graphic novel Weathercraft. As usual with Desert Island, exclusive silkscreen show prints will be available at the events — that's a process picture of one of the screens for Kim's print above, and you can see the others on the Desert Island blog. We'll let you know more details as they become available, but in the meantime you can RSVP on Facebook for Kim here and for Jim here.

Daily OCD: 4/22/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsKim DeitchDash ShawDaily OCD 22 Apr 2010 2:13 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions:

The Search for Smilin' Ed!

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

The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D.

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

The Kim Deitch Universe from The Search for Smilin' Ed
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under previewsnew releasesKim Deitch 22 Apr 2010 10:29 AM

The Kim Deitch Universe

The Kim Deitch Universe

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:

The Search for Smilin' Ed! by Kim Deitch - foldout

The Search for Smilin' Ed! by Kim Deitch - Previews, Pre-Order
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under videopreviewsnew releasesKim Deitch 22 Apr 2010 6:24 AM

The Search for Smilin' Ed! by Kim Deitch

The Search for Smilin' Ed!
by Kim Deitch

162-page black & white 6" x 8.75" softcover (with full-color foldout) • $16.99
ISBN: 978-1-60699-324-8

Ships in: May 2010 (subject to change) — Pre-Order Now

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

Download an 11-page PDF of Bill Kartalopoulos's Introduction (1 MB) and an EXCLUSIVE 10-page PDF excerpt of the first part of the story (1.4 MB).

Video & Photo Slideshow Preview (view in new window):

The Search for Smilin' Ed! + Deitch's Pictorama

Bonus Savings: Order The Search for Smilin' Ed! + Deitch's Pictorama together for a discounted price of $29.99 (a savings of about 6 bucks)! Order now and we'll ship you both books when Smilin' Ed arrives in our warehouse.





Kim Deitch in Baltimore this Sunday!
Written by Eric Reynolds | Filed under Kim Deitchevents 19 Apr 2010 5:37 PM

The Homewood Art Workshops wraps up its 35th anniversary celebration with a slide talk by legendary cartoonist Kim Deitch on Monday, April 26. Deitch's talk, "The Search for Smilin' Ed and Other Tales," will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Room 101 of the F. Ross Jones Building, Mattin Center, on the Homewood campus at 3400 N. Charles St. in Baltimore.

Deitch's latest book, The Search for Smilin' Ed, will be published by Fantagraphics in June. He will sign advance copies of Smilin' Ed at the Johns Hopkins Barnes & Noble, 3330 St. Paul Street, on Sunday, April 25, from 4 to 6 p.m.

Both events are free and open to the public.