cover image Diana: My Graphic Obsession

Diana: My Graphic Obsession

Sivan Piatigorsky-Roth. Street Noise, $19.99 trade paper (148p) ISBN 978-1-95149-122-2

In this unorthodox survey of the Princess of Wales’s life and legacy, comics newcomer Piatigorsky-Roth finds parallels between their own navigation of gender as a trans person and Diana’s fraught relationship with celebrity and the monarchy. The image of a commemorative mug from the 1981 royal wedding precipitates an abridged account of Diana’s “very public journey of self-realization,” with the admittedly obsessed Piatigorsky-Roth teasing out the significance of their fixation on the princess. Noting that they thought of Diana “every day” while working as a preschool teacher (a “woman’s job”), Piatigorsky-Roth juxtaposes drawings of the princess from her own time as a nursery school educator against images of the artist injecting hormones. The royal wedding in particular is scrutinized as a performative conversion of Diana from girl to woman—and to wife, princess, and “England’s Rose,” with comparisons to classical mythology (including the virgin goddess Diana). The comics medium proves apt for the book’s twinning of celebrity biography and personal essay—recreating photographic images of Diana in deliberately unembellished ink, Piatigorsky-Roth foregrounds interiority over mystique and conveys the complexity of their obsession (“Sometimes I worry that I don’t like to talk about Diana because I think she’s mine”). Idiosyncratic and intimate, this heartfelt tribute doubles as a revealing self-portrait. Agent: Christopher Schelling, Selectric Artists. (June.)