Josh Frank has done an enormous amount of research, tracking down the elusive scenario ... Frank's work pays off ... The magic of two very different temperaments, Dali's and Harpo's, is both jarring and delightful, surrealism delivered with a broad wink and a tip of the cigar, Groucho Marx style. The creative team behind this book have risen to the challenge and created something completely unique: a graphic novel based on a surreal/slapstick film that was never made. That in itself is quite an accomplishment. Dali and Harpo would applaud their efforts.
Judged on its own merits, Giraffes on Horseback Salad is bizarre but successful—in part because the talents of Frank and Heidecker, Dali’s surrealism, and Marx Brothers comedy blend nearly seamlessly, with impeccable delivery of jokes about lobster phones, taxis with interior rain systems, and the like. An assortment of extras includes original sketches and photos, completing a book that should satisfy fans of Dali or the Marx Brothers, or anyone looking for something completely outside the norm.
A sense of marvel persists throughout the book. Introducing the graphic novel is a childrens’-book-like narrative — meaning, slender blocks of texts with elaborate illustrations adorning either the margins or the lower half of a page — detailing how Dali came to America and became friendly with Harpo Marx ... The pages illustrated by Spanish artist Manuela Pertega are, for lack of a better term, frame-worthy ... Even though the writers Frank and Heidecker are witty and irreverent while making sense of both Dalí’s worldview and the Marx brothers’ dynamic, their text interrupts, almost disturbs the sheer beauty of Manuela Pertega’s work. What’s written on the page, in all its screwball and vaudevillian glory, can be quite overwhelming to the reader, making the choice, as their eyes focus on text or image or design, tricky and exciting.
... a most strange yet passionately earnest graphic novel ... While the end result is one of those classic 'the parts are greater than the whole' scenario, it’s fun and certainly interesting to see this crazy project come to life after almost a century of having originally been thought up by the surrealist master ... Overall, this is the taste Giraffes on Horseback Salad leaves the reader upon completion, a myriad of 'Why didn’t they do more here?' or 'They should have done this' throughout. But still, even with the carping, it can’t be doubted that this is a fun and certainly intriguing to a fault read and curio that veers into crazy territories, but ultimately may not have enough to satisfy either a Marx Brothers fan, or a Dali fan or even a graphic novel fan. A huge Dali drawn A for effort and by no means not worth seeking out, Giraffes on Horseback Salad shows what could have been and also shows why it never was.