Today on the site, Rob Kirby reviews a graphic memoir by Nicole J. Georges, Fetch.
Nicole J. Georges’ followup to 2013's Calling Dr. Laura continues her coming-of-age graphic memoir, this time focusing on Georges’ relationship with her dog, Beija. A unique mix of Shar-pei and Dachshund, Beija has a very difficult personality, which includes hating almost all males on sight and lunging at children. But Georges loves her unconditionally. It’s a love that sustains them both through housing problems, bad relationships, and the general life upheavals that punctuate Georges’ maturation from teenager to adult. During her years with Beija, Georges learns to hone her strengths and recognize her weaknesses, eventually learning to live life on her own terms, eschewing templates. With its theme of the deep relationships between people and their pets, Fetch has obvious appeal for animal and dog lovers. But this bildungsroman should also interest a broader audience.
Fetch takes us back to Georges’ teenage years, with occasional, further flashbacks to her as a young child. Raised by a loving-but-dysfunctional, frequently absent mother, and an aggressively “manly” stepfather, Georges learns to channel her loneliness, energy, and affections towards animals. At sixteen, she acquires Beija from the dog pound as a gift to her boyfriend, Tom. But Beija proves to be a handful from the beginning, a “bad dog” who repulses both Tom’s parents and Georges’, and she is ultimately the catalyst for the young couple to move away to Portland, Oregon. Both take to Portland right away: “Dirty and quirky. It felt like home.”
—Interviews & Profiles. Hillary Brown talks to Eleanor Davis, about her new travel book and politics.
It feels very good to be more active. I’ve only become more active because of this really awful thing that’s happened, and I wish it hadn’t happened, but being active itself feels good. There is a clarity now that I didn’t have before. Before things seemed complicated. Now they are simple. It is very easy to see that we just need to fight as hard as we can, in every way that we can.
I have learned a lot about government—federal and state and local. I’ve learned it’s not the end of the world to talk with someone who disagrees with you or who thinks you’re stupid or who thinks you’re wasting their time. I’ve learned a lot about immigration issues. I’ve learned I’m not afraid to get arrested; in fact, I felt very proud. I’ve learned about all the vital work local groups and activists are doing every day. I’ve learned that I guess I should just go ahead and start calling myself a socialist. I’ve learned about my community, and the people who live here, and what they need and what they have to offer. I’ve learned a lot of good chants. I’ve learned that I am smarter and braver and more powerful than I thought I was, but that I’m smaller and more foolish than I thought I was, too.
—Reviews & Commentary. At The Cut, Jillian Tamaki walks readers through one of her stories.
This is a drawing of a photo I found at a flea market in Williamsburg a million years ago. I think it looks like a fashion show, or maybe it’s a Wiccan thing. Either way it looked ritualistic to me, so I used it to illustrate a passage about rituals. Our lives are full of them — from skin care to packing a suitcase a certain way — because they make us feel safe and in control. I used a lot of found images for this story because I wanted to create a collage effect by illustrating a wide spectrum of people and giving no explanation of their relationship to the text.
Tahneer Oksman writes about Dominique Goblet's Pretending is Lying.
Pretending is Lying was first published, in its original French, 10 years ago by the renowned French publisher L’Association. L’Association is known for releasing experimental, quality comics — in the English-speaking world, some of the best-known translated works that originated with them include Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and David B’s Epileptic. This is Belgian cartoonist and visual artist Goblet’s first English translation (done in collaboration with cartoonist Sophie Yanow), though she is already known in the Franco-Belgian comics world for her many experimental publications, including a number of collaborations. In a brief preface to the book, Jean-Christophe Menu, one of the founders of L’Association and the editor of the original addition, as well as an “exceptional friend” to the author (as she puts it in her acknowledgments), describes how the book took Goblet 12 years to write: “There were other books, expositions, trips; the autobiography returned, left again, returned.” Traces of this postponement appear in the book itself, most notably in the yellowed pages of the scenes composed early on.