Nudnik was animator Gene Deitch’s favorite creation, the star of a series of twelve Paramount theatrical cartoons in the 1960s – and a character pretty much forgotten today. Thanks to the fine folks (including the late great Kim Thompson) at Fantagraphics Books, Deitch (the creator of Tom Terrific among many others) has been re-discovered through a series of books reprinting his great print cartoons – including the jazzy record-collecting The Cat and his short-lived 1950s comic strip Terrible Thompson.
Admittedly, the Nudnik cartoons are an acquired taste (and I acquired it), but regardless of your take on these films, this book Nudnik Revealed!, is a must-have for anyone interested in animation, cartooning or Gene Deitch. I especially recommend it to those currently doing storyboards. The bulk of this book is full storyboards, in color, to three of the Nudnik shorts. Since the character was mute, and animated in pantomime, these storyboards can be read as masterful, hilarious comic strips drawn by Deitch himself.
These boards are preceded by essays from Deitch explaining the origin of the character (based on himself, an outgrowth of Terrytoons’ Foofle), illustrated with rare promotional art, early character designs, cel set-ups, model sheets… everything you ever wanted to know about Nudnik, but were afraid to ask. Check out a preview of the book here.
Leonard Maltin and I will be doing a live interview with Gene Deitch at the San Diego Comic Con on Thursday, July 18th at 12:30 in Room 8. Deitch will be signing copies of the book there – and a brand new DVD collecting all 12 Nudnik cartoons will be released that day, and be on sale at the con. Be there – or buy this book. Nudnik has arrived!