New York–based publisher ANTIBOOKCLUB is officially announcing today the acquisition of my in-depth biography of Disney animation legend Ward Kimball (1914–2002).

The Ward Kimball Biography (working title) will be the definitive volume about the remarkable career and captivating personal life of the animator who supervised the creation of iconic Disney characters including Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio, the crows in Dumbo, the mice and Lucifer in Cinderella, and the Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter, and March Hare in Alice in Wonderland.

Ward Kimball.

A tireless creative mind, Kimball sought new avenues of artistic expression throughout his life, leading to work as a film director (resulting in two Oscars), a bandleader (his group Firehouse Five Plus Two recorded 12 albums and became a national sensation), and the pursuit of audacious hobbies (the most audacious of all perhaps being the installation of a full-size railroad in his backyard).

I was granted unprecedented access to Kimball’s private journals and family archives, and have used those materials to craft what I hope readers will find to be a page-turning portrait of one of the most original creative talents of the twentieth century. The book will celebrate Kimball’s rebellious and influential accomplishments, without overlooking the considerable roadblocks and frustrations that came with being an innovator and nonconformist in the Hollywood film industry.

Ward Kimball's Grizzly Flats backyard railroad.
Ward Kimball’s Grizzly Flats backyard railroad.

The biography will be illustrated with never-before-seen photos, personal artwork, and rare ephemera from the personal archives of Ward Kimball.

This project, as many longtime readers of the site may know, had a false start with another publisher a few years ago. It pleases me to say that this book is not the same book that I was working on earlier—it is a far better book that is uncompromised by corporate influence.

A Firehouse Five Plus Two album cover.
A Firehouse Five Plus Two album cover.

It’s a real treat be working with a publisher that values animation history and shares my commitment to accuracy and transparency in historical research. I’ve been following the work of publisher Gabriel Levinson since he started, and admire how he has used his publishing house to highlight daring literary fiction from around the globe, in addition to publishing the artwork of Don Hertzfeldt and an important historical volume about Terry Southern. I’m confident that ANTIBOOKCLUB will do an amazing job of ensuring that this project is treated with the care and respect that Kimball’s incredible life demands.

Painting by Ward Kimball.
Painting by Ward Kimball.

In making today’s announcement, ANTIBOOKCLUB publisher Gabriel Levinson added: “At long last, Ward Kimball’s larger-than-life story will be given its due. Amid Amidi’s exhaustively researched, vivacious biography fully realizes Kimball’s myriad contributions to his fields and the joie de vivre with which he embraced both art and life. This biography is nothing short of a stunner and I am thrilled to be its publisher.”

The Ward Kimball Biography is currently scheduled to be published in the second half of 2018.

Ward Kimball, 1959.

Amid Amidi

Amid Amidi is Cartoon Brew's Publisher and Editor-at-large.

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