The Voyeurs

Gabrielle Bell. Uncivilized Books (www.uncivilizedbooks.com), $24.95 (156p) ISBN 978-0-9846814-0-2
Autobiographical cartoonist Bell combines comic charm, obsessive self-examination, and an oddly entertaining touch of self-pity (“I’ve pretty much spent my life trying to be a cartoonist, and what do I have to show for it? A wikipedia page and arrested development”) in a new series of full-color vignettes that document her life as part of a free-floating community of indie comics artists drifting between the neighborhood bars of Brooklyn and L.A. and an international and domestic circuit of comics conventions. Add to those attributes a vividly depicted sense of the surreal, evoked through a methodical six-panel-a-page grid and panels crowded with Bell’s whiny (but funny) self-critical text and detailed, stylishly schematic drawings of her life, lovers, friends and neurotic obsessions. While the collection has its share of humorous contradictions—the account of her relationship and breakup with filmmaker Michel Gondry manages to be both sweetly loopy and a little mean—it also depicts a darker, more demandingly neurotic and depressive Bell than her previous books, while also offering a thoughtful account of her meandering path to making art. So what if she’s a high maintenance girlfriend? Her thoughtful and revealing comics are eccentric, funny, and irresistibly readable. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 10/08/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
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