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Underground(s): Kim Deitch's Presentation at the 2003 UF Comics Conference

By Kim Deitch
What follows is an adaptation of Kim Deitch's notes for his presentation at the" 'Undergound(s)': 2003 University of Florida Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels." In some cases, images were scanned directly from his notes to provide a sense of Mr. Deitch's narration of his comic stories, and in other cases, where possible, images were scanned from their original sources.
Narrating from Boulevard of Dreams
Okay, here's a picture of our version of Winsor McCay (known as Winsor Newton in our story) showing Fred Fontaine (our fiction variation of Max Fleischer) a model of a cartoon theme park he's promoting . . .

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Narrating from Boulevard of Dreams
Next I'd like to tell you a little more about my character, Waldo the Cat.

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Cat on a Hot tin roof (Cover)
Ragtime Ephemeralist Cover
Narrating from "The Ship that Never Came In" —
Here's a bonus strip not in Boulevard but featured on Pantheon's website and at Twinkleland's.
"I'm waiting for ships that never come in —
watching and waiting in vain.
It seems that life's a stormy seas hold nothin' for me
but broken dreams — and shattered schemes."

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"Why look! What's that over there, sailing across the sea?
My ships! Why, my ships are sailing home to me!"

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and so on — but then —
"Why, there's something wrong.
They're not stopping.
Those are not my ships!"
"I'm just waiting for ships that never come in —
I wonder where they can be."
And one day in 1929, it gave Ted Mishkin a great idea.
Fontaine Fables, where Ted worked as an animator, already had a spectacular project for the new talking pictures.

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Waiting for ships never did come in. His suicide scuttled the project, and unfortunately no prints are known to have survived.

But now, amazingly, some cell set ups have been unearthed. So here, for the first time, are some incredibly rare scenes from that lost cartoon and a few others to boot.
[Figure 39] The odd limited color is because most early color was in a limited two-color spectrum, in this case blue and red and the various in-between shades that mixing red and blue will get you.

[Figure 40] This is from "Out of Nowhere," 1933, also an early two-color only here the two basic colors are orange and green.

[Figure 41] These shots are from "Dream Street," made in 1934. A typical above average Black and White cartoon, from Fontaine Fables and featured in our book.

[Figure 42] This is from "Fairy Frolics," a three strip, full spectrum cartoon from 1935, and you can see a certain insidious disneyesque kitchyness starting to creep in.

[Figure 43] Now here are two shots from "Natzy Katzy," in 1945, starring Rocket Rat, who went on to become Fontaine Fables' biggest post-war star.

[Figure 44] I almost left this one out. Its from a bizarre unreleased cartoon called "Monkey Doodle," probably from the 50's.
Narrating from "Dial M for Monster" —

Screening of "The Ship That Never Came In." Available here is a Flash movie animated by John Kuramoto.
[Movie - "The Ship that Never Came In"]

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