The Comic Queen

Zip ribbons and word balloons, Wednesday bliss and Previews dreams. If these phrases mean anything to you, then you're in the right place. But if they don't -- hey stick around anyway. You might just like what you see.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

I Missed the Boat: Artbabe

Often, I feel like I live in a pop culture cocoon. Sometimes, more often than I’d like to admit actually, cool stuff just passes me by. Eventually, when I do discover it and realize its greatness I wonder, “What was I doing in (insert year here) that caused me to miss (insert awesome discovery here)?” Was I too busy with Uncanny X-Men and oodles of Spiderman titles to notice all the sweet little indie gems floating by? Looks like I missed another one.

I’ve wanted to check out Jessica Abel’s work for some time now. I haven’t even read La Perdida yet. Finally, I purchased five Artbabe books on eBay, volume one, issue five and volume two, issues one-four. Now that I’ve read two if them, it’s safe to say that I missed the boat on Artbabe and Jessica Abel’s work.

Released in the mid-1990s, Artbabe is the quintessential indie-comic. The slice-of-life books are filled with stories of young urban-dwelling women. They go to work, go out on dates, and live normal lives. Originally, the book was self-published. The first four issues, now hard to find, were Xeroxed mini-comics. That all changed with Volume one, number five, when Abel won a Xeric grant and published the book in a regular comic format. Fantagraphics picked up the series from there and published the four issues from volume two.

What makes the stories so great is how easy and relatable they are. It’s easy to imagine that I am an Artbabe living the great single life in the city. The characters are smart, witty, and beautiful. They might have craptacular jobs and fight with their roommates, but they still get by just fine. The book is filled with, and I hate to use this phrase, urban hipster sensibility. Really, though, that’s the only way I can think to describe them.

I’m very impressed with volume two, number one. This issue contains just one story as opposed to the other issues that hold a few shorter ones. The story is of a guy and a girl who really like each other. They can’t seem to act normal around each other though and any time they spend together is very awkward. The book starts with a conversation from the guy’s point of view and then switches a few pages in to show you the same conversation from the guy’s point of view. It’s like being in both the characters’ heads. The story is perfect for those of you who’ve ever wondered what your crush is thinking after you just said something ridiculously dumb. I could relate to this story especially.

I expect we’ll be seeing a lot more of Abel in the future if Artbabe and the success of La Perdida is any indication. She has a great voice in her comics and writes with humor and a dash of sarcasm. She does a great job drawing realistic women, something very rare in the comics’ world.

Yet again, I missed the boat on another great series and another great artist. Luckily, I’ve discovered Ms. Abel before the release of La Perdida number five. Thankfully, I’ve got some time to play catch up.


  • At 8:06 PM, February 25, 2005, Anonymous Dave Carter said…

    I'll second the recommendation for Jessica Abel and Artbabe--it's really good stuff and she has a distinctive style and voice.

  • At 3:29 PM, October 02, 2005, Blogger jon said…

    We are trying to find good online movie to take the kids this weekend. Good online movie reviews are hard to find

    I just stumbled onto your blog while looking. Seems to happen to me a lot since I am a knowledge mooch LOL


  • At 10:16 AM, October 06, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

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