Born in Oak Park, MI; married. Education: Graduate of Wayne State University.
Graphic artist, art director, and actor. Cofounder of the anthology Third Eye; Straight Jacket Required (acting troupe), New York, NY, founder.
GRAPHIC NOVELS AND COMICS
Ninety Candles, Rant Comics (New York, NY), 2003.
Brownsville, illustrated by Jake Allen, NBM Publishing (New York, NY), 2006.
(With Paul Cote) Ursa Minors (four-issue series), illustrated by Fernando Pinto, Slave Labor Graphics (San Jose, CA), 2006.
The Intimidators (four-issue series), illustrated by Montenegro, CAFU, Image Comics (Berkeley, CA), 2006.
(With C.B. Cebulski) X-Men Unlimited, Number 14, illustrated by David Aja and Mike Oeming, Marvel Comics (New York, NY), 2006.
Migdal David (memoir), Seraphic Press (Herndon, VA), 2007.
Contributor to books, including 9-11 Emergency Relief, edited by Jeff Mason, Alternative Comics (Gainesville, FL), 2002; Postcards, edited by Jason Rodriguez, 2006. Contributor to periodicals, including Kitchen Sink, and to Web sites, including the ongoing strip "Todt Hill" to http://www.chemsetcomics.com, http://www.OPi8.com, and http://www.nbmpublishing.com. Coauthor of column "Big Pond," for Scryptic Studios.
Writer and graphic artist Neil Kleid was born in a suburb of Detroit and wrote in an essay for Ninth Art online that he became hooked on comics because his father brought them home to him and his brother every Friday night. Klein began to learn to draw by tracing the panels, then he created his own. He attended art school but discovered that his real talent lay in writing. He found himself drawn not to the superheroes of his childhood, but to independent—or indie—comics.
Kleid got his feet wet by writing minis, including Ninety Candles, with the help of a grant from the Xeric Foundation. This comic illustrates ninety years in the life of a cartoonist, with each panel representing one year. In an interview with Tim O'Shea for Silver Bullet Comic Books online, Kleid said that the book "is about a journey—one man's choices and decisions made within the comic book industry and life in general. Should I have gone a step beyond and have the story reflect changing fashion and trends, cultural, political and the like? Maybe. But I felt watching the protagonist's world alter over the years might distract from what the book was really about—his life, his career, his family, his legacy." Kleid revealed that some of the first thirty pages is autobiographical
Brownsville, written by Kleid and illustrated by Jake Allen, is a coming-of-age story that begins in the 1920s; it is also based on real incidents. As a Brooklyn teenager, Albert "Allie" Tannenbaum is exposed to the corruption and power of the Jewish mob known as Murder, Inc., whose members include Dutch Schultz, Louis "Lepke" Buchalter, Abe Reles, and the Shapiro brothers. The story opens during Prohibition, when Allie first glimpses the gangsters at his father's Catskills resort, and continues into the 1950s, with Allie now a member of the mob. Kleid notes how Lucky Luciano's crime syndicate relied on Murder, Inc. as enforcers. Allie eventually turns state's evidence when the gang is targeted by New York District Attorney Thomas Dewey. Booklist contributor Ray Olson concluded that the story has "plenty of undeleted expletives, but [is still] an all-ages, Mob-mavens' delight." A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the book "a fine addition to the archive of Brooklyn's once outlaw world."
Kleid and illustrator Alex Nino created Jack London's The Call of the Wild: The Graphic Novel, the classic story of Buck the dog, who is stolen and sold as a sled dog in the frigid Yukon during the gold rush. Booklist contributor Jesse Karp appreciated how the author and illustrator condense the tale "down to archetypal purity." Ursa Minors, created with Paul Cote, is a series about three twenty-something male slackers who function inside robotic bear suits. Other than their superhero technology, they spend their lives like normal slackers—drinking, chasing women, and reading comics. Kleid described the plot to Lisa Lopacinski in an interview for Sequart online as "action, comedy, bears versus robotic quantum physicists and, more often than not, a soul-searching quest for acceptance in a world that hates and fears hippies."
Kleid has also written some other tales based on real life. His story "Letter from a Broken Apple," for example, is about his personal experiences following the terrorist bombings of September 11, 2001. Illustrated by several contributors, it is included in a larger collection remembering that event titled 9-11 Emergency Relief. He is also the author of a graphic memoir, Migdal David, the story of his brother's growing up with developmental disabilities in an Orthodox Jewish home.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kleid, Neil, Migdal David, Seraphic Press (Herndon, VA), 2007.
Booklist, March 15, 2006, Ray Olson, review of Brownsville, p. 40; April 1, 2006, Jesse Karp, review of Jack London's The Call of the Wild: The Graphic Novel, p. 36.
Publishers Weekly, February 13, 2006, review of Jack London's The Call of the Wild, p. 69; March 13, 2006, review of Brownsville, p. 49.
School Library Journal, July, 2006, Philip Charles Crawford, review of Brownsville, p. 130.
Ninth Art,http://www.ninthart.com/ (June 30, 2003), Neil Kleid, autobiographical essay.
Pop Image,http://www.popimage.com/ (October 24, 2006), Ed Mathews, "Interview: Neil Kleid."
Rant Comics Web site,http://www.rantcomics.com/ (October 24, 2006), biographical information on Neil Kleid.
Sequart,http://www.sequart.com/ (September 7, 2006), Lisa Lopacinski, "Neil Kleid on Writing, Drawing, Pitching, and Adapting Comics," interview with Neil Kleid.
Silver Bullet Comic Books Web site,http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/ (October 24, 2006), Tim O'Shea, "Neil Kleid on Ninety Candles: Q&A."*