Thursday, July 17, 2008

It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken by Seth

This was not a book that I was really wowed by, but it definitely kept my attention. Though the book is not plot driven, I wasn't thinking, "That was it?" when I was done. Seth's search for information on an obscure cartoonist Kalo from 1930s-1950s periodicals leads him to ultimately discover much about himself as he openly discusses his personal ticks along the way. The style was clearly heavily influenced by Seth's love of classic comic art; I enjoyed the clean, swooping lines even though the style is not my regular cuppa. The particular copy I have is horribly bound, with a quarter of the pages completely detached. Though annoying to sift through, the loose pages give way to an endearing set of personal neuroses and incessant fretting. I dislike self-conscious graphic novels (read: Craig Thompson and Jhonen Vasquez), but this self-consciousness differs from self-awareness (i.e. "Whoa, der, this drawing looks like crap" notes) which peeves me out! Though I do not always agree with Seth and though he seems debilitated at times by his depression or by his concern over whether or not he is depressed, the neurotic introspection resonated in me and I would occasionally put the book down and reflect on my own mental state. A quote from GoodReads.com member Cody was pretty spot on: "What saves this graphic novel from navel-gazing misanthropy is Seth's awareness that he is a navel-gazing misanthrope." One thing I am still sore about is that there was a Glossary and copies of the Kalo works Seth has collected in the back of the book! I sure wish I had known that while I was reading!!!! This graphic novel is Seth's first and I would be interested in reading another. Recommended for Woody Allen types, the old-fashioned, and Drawn and Quarterly readers.

1 comment:

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