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Welcome, hoopleheads! We are making The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon, a book about the making of David Milch's classic HBO series Deadwood, which recently wrapped up its story with a TV movie, 13 years after its sudden cancellation. The book will look like an old Bible, written by me, with an introduction by critic Gretchen Felker-Martin, extensive footnotes, and drawings by Max Dalton that channel dime novels and Charles Dickens illustrations.
ABOUT ME AND THE BOOK
I've been writing about Deadwood for 15 years, starting when I was a TV columnist for The Star-Ledger of New Jersey (two set visits, in 2005 and 2006), and continuing at Slant, Salon, and most recently New York magazine (they flew me to the film set in 2018, and it resulted in an exclusive interview with Milch in which he revealed his diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease).
But here's the thing: Although I've done numerous books about film and TV--including The Wes Anderson Collection, The Wes Anderson Collection: Grand Budapest Hotel, Mad Men Carousel, TV: The Book, and The Sopranos Sessions--this Deadwood book is something that can't be produced within the commercial system. It's too much of a peculiar, obsessive collector's item/art object.
As you can see from the cover mockup, A Lie Agreed Upon will look like a Bible from the early 20th century (it's specifically modeled on my grandfather's Bible), so that if you read it in public, people will assume you're just refreshing your knowledge of the Gospels. Reverend Smith would approve.
The heart of the book is a thoroughly reported history of the series, broken into seven chapters, plus illustrations, footnotes, an introduction, and an appendix of critical essays on all the episodes.
Max Dalton, an Argentina-based graphic artist and illustrator who did drawings for my Wes Anderson books and Mad Men Carousel, is on board to do a series of original illustrations for this book, based on key incidents in Deadwood.
These will be done in a modified version of his signature style, drawing partial inspiration from dime novels and the pen-and-ink caricatures that used to appear in bound editions of novels by Charles Dickens. Here's a rough, early version of a sketch of the shooting of Wild Bill Hickok by the coward Jack McCall. They will appear in the recaps section, always on the page where the event in question is written about, in order to prevent accidental spoilers.
Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.4 inches