- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (November 22, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1560977418
- ASIN: B004AYCXS4
- Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 0.5 x 10.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,551,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hardcover – Bargain Price, November 22, 2006
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Popular film historian Leonard Maltin's page of affectionate tribute is the only text in Friedman's 10-by-10-inch watercolor portrait album, which would seem to disqualify the book for the BLAB! Picto-Novelette series. Where's the story (i.e., novelette)? But kvetch, kvetch. Friedman needs no narrative to justify any book he puts out. He is one of the best cartoonists and caricaturists going, whose renderings, in this case, of star comedians of the mid-twentieth century seethe with the panoply of feelings their personae stir in so many breasts: affection, repulsion, caution, fear, sadness, disdain, and admiration (maybe). If he gives Milton Berle, Rodney Dangerfield, Don Rickles, Jerry Lewis, and the rest outsize heads, he makes sure that every crease, mustache hair, and liver spot looks utterly real. And he catches each man "on": Bud Abbott appears stoically grumpy even in retirement, Myron Cohen still tilts his head in disingenuous submission, Phil Silvers is working yet another con. If only we were all funny enough to get Friedman to draw us! Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Friedman is one of the best cartoonists/caricaturists going. -- Booklist starred review
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The portraits in this slim volume hark back to an earlier era. The heyday of these comedians was back during the 20th century. Drew Friedman illustrates them all during the Autumn of their years. Some are depicted at such an elderly age I could not even recognize them until after reading the caption telling me their names, and then, yes-- the person shown is, in fact, that person, visually immortalized at an age somewhere past his prime, past his years of fame, past his actual expiration date. For example, Phil Silvers is so old here he barely resembles what he looked like when he was Sergeant Bilko, but it definitely is him at a very advanced age.
If you already are a Drew Friedman fan, then you know he is a remarkable talent. He is an innovator who combined realistic illustration with caricature to create a unique, singular visual style similar to that of no other illiustrator in history.
I give this phenomenal book only four stars because, like each of the successor books in this series, the book doesn't have that many pages. All of them combined into one volume would still be an average-sized art book. If an omnibus edition were to appear with the same high-quality reproduction and quality slick paper, that one would merit six stars. eight stars, ten stars, or more. Well, it would be FULL of stars: Stars, near-stars, and obscure other comedic performers of yesteryear immortalized in their senior citizen phase.
With today's comics almost always working blue, and the average comedy club or HBO special containing more four-letter words than a dockworkers convention, it's refreshing to see these old-timers (accent on the old) who were funny without being foul-mouthed. The days of these old-skool comedians is past, but their faces will live on thanks to Drew.
Like Levy's rye bread, you don't have to be Jewish to love this book.
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What else can you ask for?