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Tinsel*Town Volume 2: Love and Death (Tinsel*Town: A Novel of Hollywood in the Great depression) Paperback – October 11, 2013
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And that reaction is: I see this as Freder's finest work as a cartoonist, and among his finest as a teller of stories.
Freder's love of Old Hollywood shines through, and his ZELIG-like (or should that be ROGER RABBIT-like?) blending of "cartoon life" and "real life" in many sequences creates a deft, accomplished, and mighty tasty blend. His knowledge of the Great Silent-Era Comedians shines through, with Keaton and Arbuckle appearing as featured players. Blended with an unflicnhing portrayal of the fish-eyed, cold-blooded facets of the flawed jewel that was La-La Land, in the days before that name was coined, the story takes on added -- and sobering -- emotional dimensions.
The occasional neoligism creeps in -- a character drops the word "foo" in 1933, two years before cartoonist Bill Holman coined it in his comic strip SMOKEY STOVER -- but this melancholy story of a cartoon fox and the faded stars who loved him is so affecting, a tiny little slip like that gets the okey-doke from me (especially since in years past Bigger Names, working on Big-Budget projects, have let much Bigger Gaffes go by without the public noticing or seeming to care).
Production values in this book are excellent from cover to cover. From the toning used to emulate a black-and-white movie to the clean typography that re-creates one of the Hollywood "trades" to within-the-same-panel meldings of photography and hand-drawn imagery, TINSEL*TOWN Volume 2 shoots for some ambitious visual effects and pulls them off, one right after the other.
Perhaps my biggest disappointment with Freder's work here is that he created it himself ... because had TINSEL*TOWN been created by other hands, I would now be sending a copy his way, eagerly saying, "You HAVE to read this! It's right up your alley!"
If solid story and bygone glamour is up your alley, then you should seriously consider giving TINSEL*TOWN a try ...