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Walt Disney's nervous breakdown: The Secret Life of Popular Artists

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By now, I would hope that everyone knows who Anna Haifisch is. Her collection of strips called The Artist was released by Breakdown Press last year and signaled the arrival of a major new talent in comics. Von Spatz predates much of the work on that book and is Anna's debut graphic novel. What we see is an artist who is full control of her compositional skills and whose playful colour sense makes each page thrilling to look at. I would have no problem saying that Anna's sense of humour is unique. The undertones are dark but it is played with a certain frivolity that makes Von Spatz a taut hilarious page turner. This is the smart and emotional and funny book that you will return to again and again.
 
 
Oh, quickly, I should tell you what the book is about. Von Spatz is a recovery centre for artists—at the peak of his career Walt Disney has a nervous breakdown and ends up there. He is joined by Saul Steinberg and Tomi Ungerer. Together, the three artists undergo therapy in order to return to the "real world." They argue and empathize and get nothing done and make brilliant and terrible art. It's a book about creating and all the insecurities that come with it.
 
 
I would be remiss at this point to mention that Anna Haifisch will be at Desert Island in Brooklyn (540 Metropolitan Ave, 11211) on Thursday, April 12th from 7-9pm for the North American launch of Von Spatz. She will read and sign copies of the book. Go get that book signed!