Today we are publishing Rob Kirby's review of the AK Summers memoir, Pregnant Butch. Here's an excerpt:
Summers began drawing Pregnant Butch in 2005, two years after the birth of her son, and serialized it on the webcomics site ACT-I-VATE starting in 2012. She presents herself as Teek Thomasson, often drawing Teek to look like Hergé’s Tintin (because let’s face it, Tintin is one cool look for a butch lesbian). It’s not explained in great detail why Teek and her no-nonsense femme girlfriend, Vee, decide to get pregnant, but just about every other aspect of the experience is examined in intimate detail, all from the refreshingly unique perspective of “a neurotic bulldagger.”
Teek admits the word “pregnancy” has always made her feel squeamish and offers up alternatives: “Fetal Corpulence,” “Uterine Glut.” Her fantasies of that fetal corpulence endowing her with the “broad shoulders, slender hips and titlessness required to look good in suspenders” (suspenders being part of a “dramatic masculine costume” she covets) are quickly dashed. Worse still, the billowing trousers her expanded stomach require immediately become “clown pants.” Pregnancy is neither pretty nor handsome, though Teek is routinely mistaken for a guy throughout most of her term – a fat guy. She endures indignities other pregnant women of any stripe experience: being refused employee-only restroom facilities by a compassionless bookstore manager, shopping for a midwife among an extremely variable group of candidates, and putting up with a super-enthusiastic, super-annoying childbirth instructor/performance artist. "I just couldn't stand this woman," Teek tells us, and we fully understand.
And we have day three of Danica Novgorodoff's week in the Cartoonist's Diary chair. Today she ponders the appeal of leaving New York.
—Reviews & Commentary. Ted Rall thinks the cartoons in The New Yorker are bad for everybody. [“'For nearly 90 years, the place to go for sophisticated, often cutting-edge humor has been The New Yorker magazine,' says Morley Safer.
"As is often the case, what everyone knows is not true."]
Rob Clough reviews R. Crumb: The Weirdo Years. ["If a reader unfamiliar with Robert Crumb's work were to ask for a single volume in order to get a sense of his best work, the new collection from Last Gasp, R.Crumb: The Weirdo Years would be my pick."]
Tom Spurgeon reviews Amanda Waller #1. ["Looking at it on my desk, I could not figure out why other than to test the market for a certain kind of pricing on a certain level of protagonist that a $4.95 one-shot starring this very bland character from DC's 2011 recent line-wide reboot would be a good idea."]
J. Caleb Mozzocco questions the cover credits used on the new Harlem Heavyweights book.
Paul Di Filippo reviews Darwyn Cooke's latest Parker adaptation.
Ten years on, Andrew Hickey really likes Cerebus.
—Spending Opportunities. Study Group Books has started crowdfunding/pre-ordering for its spring list.
—Interviews. The Wall Street Journal interviews the ubiquitous Bob Mankoff: