Kaleidoscope City

March 5, 2018) Marcellus Hall’s KALEIDOSCOPE CITY is a spellbinding book, a remarkable graphic novel debut by an accomplished illustrator and acclaimed musician discovering a new creative medium.

With KALEIDOSCOPE CITY, Marcellus Hall has created a meditation on romance and our collective need for connection. The book provides snapshots from a year in the life of an artist struggling to rebound from a failed romance. As the seasons change, the unnamed man searches the five boroughs for inspiration. Buoyed by his curiosity and a search for meaning, with sketchbook in hand, he finds inspiration in unexpected places, from far-flung neighborhoods to fleeting glimpses of a mysterious woman. With its beautiful linework and sparse, emotive prose, the book is an ode to creativity, a love letter to New York City and a celebration of urban life.


Marcellus Hall is known for his illustrations for The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and Time and numerous children’s books, and his music. In the 1990’s, Hall formed the band Railroad Jerk, providing vocals and playing guitar for the influential, industrial grunge-folk act whose four LPs on Matador Records helped define an era. He and drummer Dave Varenka later formed White Hassle, a duo with guitar, harmonica and drums that pre-dated the White Stripes and the Black Keys. Today the Minnesota-born artist and musician resides in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, where’s he’s lived since the 1990’s and performs with the band Marcellus Hall and the Hostages.


On sale from Bittersweet Editions on March 6th, KALEIDOSCOPE CITY is already receiving rave reviews.

“KALEIDOSCOPE CITY is a masterpiece of beauty and longing. If you haven’t felt feelings in awhile, pick this up and lose yourself in it. I can’t say enough about how it made my heart beat again.”

— Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)

“Offering a look inside a year in the life of an artist stuck in the aftermath of a failed romance, Kaleidoscope City shows how the unnamed protagonist tries to find inspiration for both his work and his everyday existence from New York City and the people inside it. Separated by season, the book unfolds slowly and lyrically, with lush, evocative brushwork on every page.”

— The Hollywood Reporter

Evocative.” — Kirkus Reviews

“KALEIDOSCOPE CITY feels like a beautiful dream of life in New York, or maybe the memories of someone who has moved away.” — Adrian Tomine (Killing and Dying)

“Soulful.” — Impulse Gamer

“KALEIDOSCOPE CITY is an immigrant’s poetic, lyrical love letter to the magic of Manhattan. Marcellus Hall’s stunning art and prose takes us on a remarkable and unexpected journey filled with longings and discovery. In every brush stroke, he captures the allure that has called so many dreamers to this metropolis and inspired brilliant artistic responses like the one you hold in your hands.”

— Peter Kuper (The Eisner Award-winning Ruins)

Delightful.” — Comicon

“New Yorker cartoonist, children’s book illustrator and musician Marcellus Hall has lived in Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighborhood since the ‘90s, and Kaleidoscope City, his debut graphic novel, captures the undeniable, often bittersweet romance of New York City like only someone with decades of city-living behind him could.”— PASTE MAGAZINE

“Most people compare the city to a jungle, but the idea of a lost love pushing you into the city as if it were the open sea is something a lot of people will connect with on a profound level.” — Fanbase Press

“The art is fantastic.”  — Adventures in Poor Taste

Marcellus Hall is a master illustrator in the elegant tradition of Peter Arno, bringing New York City to life as a character with lyrical brushstrokes. KALEIDOSCOPE CITY is like a snow globe reminding us of the alienation, mystery, and beauty of Manhattan and the murky waters that surround it… It’s a great book!” — Adam Green (The Moldy Peaches)


ABOUT THE CARTOONIST: Marcellus Hall is a NYC-based illustrator. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and Time, as well as in American Illustration, the Society of Illustrators, and Communication Arts annuals. His first cover for The New Yorker was published in 2005. He has self-published books of drawings and writings, including Hard Luck Stories and Legends of the Infinite City. Hall illustration work in children’s books include Because You Are My Baby (Abrams 2008), City I Love (Abrams 2009), The Cow Loves Cookies (Simon & Schuster 2010), Because I Am Your Daddy (Abrams 2010), Full Moon and Star (Abrams 2011), Because I Am Your Teacher (Abrams 2012), What’s New? The Zoo! (Scholastic 2014), Duddle Puck The Puddle Duck (Simon & Schuster 2015), and the self-penned Everyone Sleeps (Penguin 2013).

Hailing from Minnesota, Marcellus Hall arrived in New York in the 1990s to form Railroad Jerk, an industrial grunge-folk band whose four LPs on Matador Records helped define the era. With trademark absurdist yet poignant lyrics, Hall went on to form (with drummer Dave Varenka) White Hassle, a duo with guitar, harmonica and drums that pre-dated the White Stripes and the Black Keys. Hall then embarked on a solo incarnation that enlists the talents of Damon Smith on bass and Mike Shapiro on drums. The quartet plays shows in and around New York while recording songs.

Bittersweet Editions is on a provocative mission – to become the de facto location for surprising, original work. With an artist-centric approach, a “no-shortcuts” process, and the bold mantra “there are no genres, truth lies in words” this independent press publishes beautiful, gutsy books.  


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