I’d just about convinced myself that everything I thought I’d seen in the basement had all been a dream, when I idly slipped the small painting out of the paper bag. It took everything in me to keep from crying out in shock!.
Remember Max Fleischer’s Betty Boop cartoons? Or the mischievous Felix the Cat? Kim Deitch’s graphic novel ought to remind you of them, as The Boulevard of Broken Dreams whirls us back to the madcap pre-psychedelia of those old cartoons. Deitch got his start as an underground comix artist, but with this linked collection of short stories he builds a fictional biography of the 30s-era animated box office sensation, Waldo the Cat. From drug visions to hoary old vaudeville routines, Waldo and his anthropomorphized pig, elephant, and monkey friends lead us back and forth through the decades and the success (and failure) of their creators. By the end, Waldo’s no longer the charming scamp but a belligerent hallucination who haunts the artist’s alcoholic fade. The art by itself is quite a show, loaded with meticulous whimsy, but Deitch weaves a human story, too, stretching history and dreams – the hopeful kind and the nightmare – into one tapestry.
Check the BPL catalog for this title: Boulevard of Broken Dreams