jeffford2010 (jeffford2010) wrote,

Graphic Delights -- Deitch and Philippine Comics Anthology


Kim Deitch's  graphic novel, The Search For Smilin' Ed, is on the loose.  The book is beautifully produced and the story and art and page layouts are mind-blowing.  Included with the long tale of Smilin' Ed, there is an introduction to Deitch's work by Bill Kartalopolis, including early comics and covers from Deitch's work at The East Village Other and various other points in his career, there's also an extra comic, "Consider the Beaver," a kind of sequel to the Smilin' Ed story, and a fold out poster that includes Deitch's cosmology of characters from the early days on. 
The Search For Smilin' Ed is 131 pages long and is Deitch at the top of his form.  The story is complex with seeming tangents that eventually wind their way back into the main story and have real impact on it.  Like the story telling, the art is always interesting in it's superbly rendered black and white.  Deitch's style is so idiosyncratic, a melange of 20's and 30's style characters interacting with modern day characters in both a modern world and a world of imagination.  The whole thing is very hard to describe.  My favorite aspect of the work, and especially in this volume, is the layout of the pages.  Their designs are often hallucinatory with panels bleeding into others and overlapping and the frames exploded to let the characters roam freely around in front of some larger action.  As always, Deitch's craftsmanship and imagination are an inspiration.  I read most of this story in the separate issues of Zero-Zero, but there is much to be said concerning the addage "greater than the sum of its parts" here, having the entire story in one fell swoop.  Great, great stuff.  I highly recommend this. 
If you'd like to view the poster of the Deitch Universe, Fantagraphics has it online at their site for blowing up and inspecting.

  If you're a graphic arts fan, a short story fan, a reader of fiction from all over the world, do yourself a favor and get yourself a copy of The Philippine Graphic /Fiction Awards Comics Anthology.  For some time now it's been evident that our SF/F brothers and sisters in the Philippines have been producing graphics and fiction work that is top-notch, wonderfully imaginative and ingenious.  This anthology of graphic stories and its companion book of fiction serve as a useful bridge between the US, UK, Austrailian sf/f creator communities and readers and the vibrant scene going on in the Philippines.  Neil Gaiman is one of the sponsers of and driving forces behind this collection and the awards that recognized the work of those artists that fill these books.  I've not had a chance to read the prose volume, but I've gone through the graphic story volume and I can report that the work is varied in its artistic approach and story theme.  Historical, fantastic, horrific, whimsical, science fictional.  Wonderful craftsmanship and unique and powerful vision.  I'll be putting this book on my ballot for The World Fantasy Awards under Best Anthology.  

Here's where you can order a copy --


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