cover image Super Late Bloomer: My Early Days in Transition

Super Late Bloomer: My Early Days in Transition

Julia Kaye. Andrews McMeel, $19.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-4494-8962-5

Cartoonist and Disney artist Kaye’s debut collection is a series of complementary contradictions: blunt yet precise; straightforward but nuanced; simple but beautiful. A collection of Kaye’s first autobiographical strips from her once-absurdist, now rawly honest webcomic Up and Out, this work follows Kaye, a transgender woman, through part of her tumultuous first year on hormone replacement therapy and the social, physical, and mental shifts that accompanied that change. Reading what is effectively Kaye’s diary, it’s nearly impossible not to empathize with her story, especially given her wide-eyed, inviting style of cartooning, which recalls elements of Bill Amend’s Foxtrot. Over five months’ worth of strips, readers witness Kaye deal with an estranged family member, acclimate to new pronouns, heal and grow from a breakup, and develop a greater appreciation of her own unique beauty. Regardless of a reader’s own orientation or identity, there are universal points of recognition and inspiration in Kaye’s frank and open telling. While repackaged web strips don’t always translate well to book form, the accumulation of quotidian moments creates a greater whole in this volume. Kaye skillfully and effectively relates the daily indignities borne by trans women and the triumphs and quiet joys as well. Her tenacity in this hopeful story will be resonant for readers going through personal transitions of many kinds. (May)