cover image Drawing Power: Women’s Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival

Drawing Power: Women’s Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival

Edited by Diane Noomin. Abrams ComicArts, $29.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4197-3619-3

#MeToo is elaborated as a movement, not just a moment, in this diverse, unblinkingly honest anthology of autobiographical comics. “There are no easy stories to be found here,” as Roxane Gay writes in the foreword. Each short piece, ranging from a few panels to a few pages, explores the specific cartoonist’s experiences of sexual harassment, abuse, and violence in varying art styles and approaches. Some, such as Sabba Khan, use deceptively soft colors and linework to portray the isolation and despair assault imposes upon women. Others, such as Carol Lay, contrast jaunty colors and caricature with the blunt horror of assault. Most don’t come to a clear resolution; the focus is on exposure rather than neatly sewing up a raw experience. Some, such as Roberta Gregory, serve up memories of being a young woman in the male-dominated world of underground comics, end in a place of gratitude for sisterhood and healing. Others simply lay rage, pain, and intractable frustration utterly bare, as Siobhán Gallagher does in her one-page account of realizing she isn’t “one of the boys” after all. But whether they are optimistic or nihilistic, abstract or exactingly inked, each entry presents its own startling truth. These creators don’t just draw power from the force of the community of fellow artists speaking out, together, in this excellent and powerful volume—they impart it to the reader, who may either be emboldened to tell their own stories or to listen to those who have too often been silenced. [em](Sept.) [/em]