Gabrielle Bell, . . Drawn & Quarterly, $16.95 (111pp) ISBN 978-1-897299-01-2
This collection of short stories lacks some of the artistic sophistication of most books from art comics publisher Drawn & Quarterly—the drawings are, in fact, about as bare bones as it gets—but it still manages to be completely engrossing. Paradoxically, the stories are interesting—even addictive—because Bell has such a flair for communicating a specific brand of postcollegiate ennui. Her day-to-day existence is a litany of dilapidated rental apartments, low-paying jobs, yoga classes and artistic frustration, but Bell's straightforward storytelling reveals a true poignancy amid the tedium. Far from being depressing, these snippets of daily life in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, N.Y., are comforting in their frankness and familiarity; by settling into the rhythm of the artist's daily life, the reader experiences the heft of small victories and simple pleasures. Never laugh-out-loud funny, brief tales of yoga roommate miscommunication, ignorant comics buyers, the anguish of nude modeling, and sex-obsessed, adolescent art students radiate good humor and are sure to resonate with a certain stripe of well-educated, underemployed 20-something comic reader.
Reviewed on: 08/14/2006