The emotional core of The Mishkin Saga is so realistically depicted it seems almost brutal, but is the rock-solid basis from which the rest of the story emanates. Central figure Ted Mishkin is a completely stunted character - a horrific alcoholic with a naive artistic soul, who faces debilitating frustrations in both his professional and personal lives. There is no hope for redemption - Mishkin's worst and best qualities flow from the same well - and little hope for solace, but when those moments do occur, in flashes of uncompromised artistic vision, they are among the most beautiful in comics history.
Ted Mishkin's tragic personality is mirrored in the surrounding characters: his eventual wife Lilian Greer, his brother Al, even relatively minor characters like studio head Fred Fontaine and psychiatrist Dr. Milton Reinman. Similarly, each independent series in the saga covers some of the same ground, but add weight and detail to the events. When the searing insight of such writing is added to the delightful two-dimensional quality of the art, amazingly successful in depicting the relationship between the artistic enterprise and madness, what one experiences is a rare combination of great truth and great beauty.
At last the general public will be allowed to discover Kim Deitch, one of the best-kept secrets in comics for over thirty-five years. He's an American Original, as spinner of yarns, whose beautifully structured pages and intricate plots conjure up a haunting and haunted American past.
Kim Deitch at Fantagraphics Books