Philadelphia

Ed Emshwiller, Disintegration of a Field-Force, cover art for the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (February 1957).

Ed Emshwiller, Disintegration of a Field-Force, cover art for the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (February 1957).

Ed Emshwiller

Lightbox Film Center

The University of the Arts | Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery

Ed Emshwiller, Disintegration of a Field-Force, cover art for the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (February 1957).

IN 1951, Ed Emshwiller (1925–1990), a World War II veteran and fledgling commercial illustrator from Michigan who had studied in Paris and at the Art Students League of New York, bought a house with his wife, Carol, in Levittown, a newly built community on Long Island that offered lines of credit to GIs. A prime midcentury symbol of cookie-cutter conformity, middle-class anxiety, and real-estate redlining, Levittown provided the Emshwillers with a secure base from which to launch their careers, Ed as an artist, Carol as a writer. The Emshwillers were perhaps the sole residents who fully dedicated themselves to the postwar American project of self-fulfillment and integrated personality (in a segregated community). “They were the only beatniks in Levittown,” recalled their then-teenage neighbor Bill Griffith, who went on to create the Zippy the Pinhead comics. His father, Griffith

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