Today at TCJ, we're pleased to welcome the always on point Irene Velentzas back these digital pages, with her look at Marguerite Dabaie's The Hookah Girl.
Dabaie's work manages not to take itself too seriously despite covering difficult issues. Dabaie’s gentle hand and delightful humor makes her collection incredibly robust. Her style shifts from that of a detailed woven tapestry to a simplistic comic math equation. She adopts whimsical narrative vehicles like game boards and paper dolls, shaping them to fit her narrative style. Dabaie’s initially controversial chapter “Should/Am” speaks to the dangers of caricaturing a culture by caricaturing that very culture. “Should/Am” displays the Arab woman as a number of stereotypes, showing how controversial and disparate such projections onto the female Arab are. Using the cut-out paper-doll template as a visual motif, Dabaie simultaneously suggests that such views of Arab women as humble and holy mothers, strong revolutionaries, and tantalizing sexual seductresses are as flimsy and two-dimensional as the paper itself. However, this same motif underlies her own cultural concern that Arab women are culturally secondary to men – a familial problem she struggles with in trying to assert her own identity as an artist and facing fears of inconsequentiality and failure.
Over at SyFy, you'll find one of those oral history pieces on The Death of Superman story arc: something tells me you'll know if you're the target audience for this one. I am, and even though I grimaced a little bit when the panel countdown lead up got referred to as a "subtle" piece of design, it's a pretty entertaining look at a moment in pop culture that has no chance of ever being recreated.
Over at Conundrum, they're announcing deals like they're going out of style: but deals never go out style.
At Women Write About Comics, you'll find an all-too-brief interview with long time web cartoonist Stan Stanley. I'm 100% in the tank for people younger than I am, even as I know they, at best, want me dead and possibly on fire, but there's a decent portion of my interest that is dedicated to finding out what happens to an artist after they've been clocking the hours for a while--when being the trendsetter wears off, when the news cycle moves along--and this conversation fits the bill nicely.
The New Yorker is the place to go if you'd like to see an excerpt of Lisa Hanawalt's upcoming Coyote Doggirl, which drops next week.