Saturday, 25 January 2020

The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley by Kim Deitch Review


Kim Deitch has always been a rambling storyteller which sometimes isn’t bad when the myriad digressions his tales take are entertaining; but when they’re not, like in the case of The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley, it can make for utterly tortuous reading.

The story is all over the shop. Set in the early days of filmmaking, Katherine meets a supposedly-Enlightenment-era Frenchman and his wonder dog in a small logging town who has a talking head and supposed recordings of Jeebus’ real voice! Shenanigans ensue with no clear direction or purpose.

Deitch is a cartoonist but this book isn’t a comic – it’s an illustrated novel with the occasional drawing amidst a sea of sprawling text. The writing isn’t very good or focused, the story is largely uninteresting, the characters are barely realised; it’s a convoluted, dreary slog to get through.

Deitch’s art though remains very appealing and skilful. The drawings are lovely, intricate and super-detailed while the page layouts are creative. And, while the various parts might sit awkwardly alongside one another, Deitch is an imaginative storyteller despite not being an especially compelling one.

The Amazing, Enlightening and Absolutely True Adventures of Katherine Whaley is definitely the least impressive Kim Deitch book I’ve read and if anyone’s interested in this creator’s work I’d recommend The Search for Smilin’ Ed and Shadowland instead.

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