Kim Deitch’s best work is possessed of an utter disregard for the arbitrary line between fact and fiction. He’ll ease you gently in, of course, through near autobiography, true life stories of him and his wife and their ever growing collections of vintage nicknacks. The first time I visited the cartoonist in his upper west side apartment, I was given to a momentary rethink of everything I’d read in the recently published Alias The Cat. Deitch finished a round of situps in the middle of the living room, turned of the tape of silent cartoons on the TV and directed me to a seat beneath a shelf of black cats, a wildly discordant collection of stuffed animals from various decades that had served as the impetuous of his most recent — and arguably best — book.
And there in the middle, was Waldo, a Felix inspired feline with the soul of Loki, who’d made the life of Deitch’s literary counterpart such a living hell. In the book, the cartoonist had offered a $1,000 bounty on the pointy-eared mischief maker, the stuffed version carrying the very same price on a tag tied to its leg. You can’t visit his overcrowded apartment without making some mention of this and the the various other antiques that populate the space. Heck, it’s tough to discuss Deitch’s work at all without commenting on his collections that have inspired so many of his best works.
#kim deitch #fantagraphics #boulevard of broken dreams #shadowland #alias the cat