Cover image for Von Spatz / Anna Haifisch.
Title:
Von Spatz / Anna Haifisch.
ISBN:
9781770463127
Publication Information:
Montreal, Québec : Drawn & Quarterly, 2018.

©2018
Physical Description:
68 unnumbered pages : chiefly coloured illustrations ; 22 cm.
General Note:
Translation of: Von Spatz.
Abstract:
"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."--Front flap.
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Summary

Summary

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.

Anna 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.


Author Notes

Anna Haifisch was born in 1986 in Leipzig, Germany. Anna co-founded the indie comic festival The Millionaires Club and likes printmaking as well as drawing comics.


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

A group therapy session at Von Spatz Rehab Center for artists provides the opening scene of this offbeat, loosely plotted graphic novel. The patients, who include Tomi Ungerer, Saul Steinberg, and Walt Disney, all figured with the heads of different animals, are questioned by bird-headed therapists, as Walt recalls his mental breakdown caused by overwork ("Is destruction an emotion?"). Pages follow with dead-pan visual jokes of the artists going through the center's daily routine, including a four-panel visualization of each of their minds on Prozac. Von Spatz patients have access to surreal grounds including an art supply store, a hot dog stand, a pool full of penguins they are encouraged to care for, and personal studios. Near the end of Walt's stay, the group members put on an exhibition of their work attended by donors to the center. When Saul accidentally shatters a sculpture and Tomi hits on the guests, head psychiatrist Margarete von Spatz begins to despair. Are her treatments aiding any of these tortured souls? Drawn with a rough, unvaried line and painted in blocks of digital color, the pages have a deceptively simple look. 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? (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.