Carpet Sweeper Tales

Julie Doucet. Drawn & Quarterly, $15.95 (184p) ISBN 978-1-77046-2397
This is an offbeat and startling new collection by a major voice in feminist and underground comics. Doucet (My New York Diary, Dirty Plotte) gave up traditional drawn cartooning a decade ago; here she rearranges found elements into a new work, built from images from Italian photographic romance comics (fumetti) clipped and shuffled into new narratives accompanied by clipped typography as free-form dialogue. The reader is instructed “read it out loud,” and the conversations take on a surreal, peppy, hip-hop-rhythmed cadence. Accompanied by the oh-so-serious longing gazes of the models, the gleefully unconventional panels evoke a beatnik poetry jam, or a spoken word reading of James Joyce or Spike Milligan. The dialogue appears to be babble at first glance, and the serious-faced characters take on the roles of current culture’s celebrants, spouting carefully restricted pop advertising slogans in retro typography. The playful combination of visual, verbal, and even aural elements (if you read the book aloud as suggested) that make up these avant-garde collage romances display Doucet’s fine eye and ear for storytelling outside of traditional pencil-and-ink comics. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/08/2016
Release date: 03/29/2016
Genre: Comics
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