Charmingly surreal... And yet, somehow, [Von Spatz] feels true to the life of the mind, which is typically filled with perpetual self-loathing and myriad self-imposed obstacles. The squirmy, straightforward linework and vivid pastels lend the whole endeavor a placid dignity that sticks with you long after you put it down.Vulture
What happens at the Von Spatz Rehabilitation Center after Walt Disney suffers a nervous breakdown?
Walt Disney is exhausted both physically and mentally. After a breakdown where he trashes his office, his wife Lilian brings him to a retreat to recover—the Von Spatz Rehabilitation Center. With a campus that includes studio buildings, a gallery, an art supply store, a hot dog booth, and a penguin pool, the clinic is a paradise for artists in crisis. There Disney meets Tomi Ungerer and Saul Steinberg, and together, they embark on a regimen of relaxation and art therapy.
Haifisch looks at the fervent drive and crippling insecurities of the average artist and places those same issues on the shoulders of three celebrated 20th century artists. Part study of isolation, part tale of a begrudging camaraderie, daily life at the center mixes with reminiscences from the world outside. Wryly written, precisely composed, and glowingly colored, Von Spatz is a hilarious, heartwarming absurdist tale.
Praise for Von Spatz
Pleasingly absurd... Haifisch’s art style is a treat, too.Toronto Star
Deceptively simple... Dreams and hallucinations bleed into the depictions of recovery. With jokes aimed at art-comics insiders, this tongue-in-cheek experimental mishmash asks: are visionaries crazy because they make art, or do they make art to keep the craziness at bay?Publishers Weekly
A surreal alternative history.Yo Zushi, New Statesman
A trippy reminder that there was an actual man behind the mouse [with] queasily bright chromatics and puckish sensibilities... Structurally, the work unfolds in a series of small gag strips, tied together with a loose sense of chronology. Despite all the dry-humor loopiness, a core concern with the complaints of the artistic life bubbles up... In a counterintuitive way, Von Spatz can be read as inspirational.Gizmodo
A droll and daffy treatment of the tortured artist motif.Booklist
Absurdist and experimental but also funny and heartwarming.Barnes & Noble Review
A magic-realist examination of the life of Walt Disney.Matthew Thurber, Artsy
We were intrigued and delighted with [Von Spatz].AIGA Eye on Design