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The Fun Never Stops! Paperback – June 17, 2007
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*Starred Review* Alternative-comics creators have gone way over the top and around the bend since Friedman's early-1980s debut, but back then he was the height of transgressiveness. With or without his brother Josh Alan's scripting, he envisioned Sheriff Andy leading the lynching of a well-dressed black man who has the temerity to come to Mayberry, and I Love Lucy sidekick Fred Mertz leading a criminal nightlife. Friedman's shtick was to put the beloved public faces of (or characters portrayed by) mid-twentieth-century minor celebrities in scenarios that contradicted the wholesomeness they representedor vice versa, when he depicted eccentric comedians, such as the Three Stooges, aging in failing health and straitened circumstances, like so many regular folks. Such stuff was and is screamingly funny and moving. There's not that much of it, however, in this collection of gag strips, one-panel cartoons, and portrait caricatures, most of them done in the demanding stipple work that Friedman abandoned in 1994. Sans stippling, Friedman's style remains ultrarealistic or, as the title of his 1990 collection aptly puts it, Warts and Allheck, he adds warts, wrinkles, and liver spots beyond those his famous subjects usually display. He's the finest caricaturist of his generation. Olson, Ray
“With a distinctive and painstaking style… and a great eye for the ugliness beneath the sheen of celebrity glamour Drew Friedman is a caricaturist to savor.”
- Danny Graydon, The First Post
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Drew's pioneering use of his hand-made halftone technique was really amazing right from the get-go. Now that he's moved into other media and color (!), it's easy to see that there's an extremely talented artist at work here in addition to an innovative craftsman. Nobody draws better likenesses and Drew's are simulataneously accurate and satirical. Without the gross exaggeration you find in most caricature work, Drew captures the image of these famous and semi-famous people, and adds something indefinable to it. The result is an almost photographic portrait, a satirical comment and an outlandish cartoon all rolled into one.
The book begins with a long biography which I found fascinating. Even as a kid, Drew was extraordinary. (I won't spoil it for you.)
The artwork (and there's lots of it) is dazzling. The comic strips and illustrations are funny, poignant, silly, sad, disturbing, wonderful and puzzling, sometimes all in one piece.
If you're a fan of Drew's work this is a must-have. If you're new to Drew Friedman, this is a good introduction. Cheap at twice the price.
Whether Friedman loves or loathes humanity is irrelevant. He understands the power of schtick to be able cloud men's minds so that they actually believe that a child/man screeching, "Wanna buy a duck?" is a knee-slapping riot.
He also understands how to use a brush.
By the way, this book contains one of the greatest one-page comics of all time.
Get out your credit card.
Friedman has logged more honest man-hours toiling in the dermal pleats, gorges and buboes of the rich and famous than any Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon that ever lived.
His celebrity topographies should be a compulsory cultural vaccination for every American citizen within striking range of People magazine!
In any overview of Mr. Friedman's work nothing less than pure compassion shines through in his portraits of has been B-Movie bit players, forgotten TV stars, et. al.
Even a casual perusal of this artist's masterpiece, "Old Jewish Comedians" will vefify this:
The look of sad desperation on old Bud Abbott's eyes, a forgotten Mousey Gardner wrapped in an electric blanket, reveal nothing less than an emphatic heart.
As Mr. Clowes points out in his insightful forward to this tome:
"How can you look at the box of Uncle Sam Cereal on Red the Bartender's
table and not feel a twinge?"
And so we question the mindset of "Gagoon" (if that IS his real name) and the nonsense he presents.
Sit back with this latest collection from Mr. Friedman and savor it like a fine meal.
He's a G'boy.