Comics fan may not have heard of Don Hertzfeldt, but within the walls of animation houses he’s a legend. In 2008, a Comedy Central said his work “influenced an entire generation of filmmakers,” and much of the aesthetic of Adult Swim is rooted in Hertzfeldt’s work. And now the animator is breaking out into comics.
Debuting in December from indie book publisher ANTIBOOKCLUB, the 216-page graphic novel The End of the World is a project Hertzfeldt has been working on for a decade between animation projects.
“While the book does not represent ten years of work by any stretch of the imagination, it does represent ten years of buried ideas: homeless scenes, dead ends, stories too strange to tell elsewhere, things drawn in the dark and soon forgotten,” Hertzfeld wrote on his blog. “It was an enormous non-linear puzzle of stuff to finally try and shape into something legible, in the early years more mood piece than anything, then a sort-of narrative surfacing enough to chip away at, and in 2009, a main character.”
While Hertzfeld isn’t a name you’ll see at Disney, DreamWorks or Pixar, his work has earned him critical acclaim: His first professional film, the animated short Rejected, was nominated for an Oscar in 2000. In 2003 Hertzfeldt paired up with Beavis and Butt-head creator Mike Judge for the touring festival The Animation Show, and in 2012 he released his first feature film, It’s Such A Beautiful Day, which put him on many critics’ top 10 list for best film of the year — animated and live-action.
“If the films were albums, I guess The End of the World would be the b-sides,” Hertzfeldt explained. “Reading it all back now, I have as many memories of creating it over the years as i have memory gaps… so many lonely late night sparks in Santa Barbara when I needed a break to do anything but animate. It is sad and jazzy, occasionally much funnier than it maybe deserves to be, and reminds me of something sort of lost and ghostly that I can’t quite put my finger on.”