Autobiographix

Overview

Dedicated readers have long known that the medium of comics and graphic novels isn't all about caped super-heroes and spandex-clad bad girls. In fact, the combination of words and pictures can be the perfect vehicle for telling all kinds of stories, from poignant memoirs to lighter takes on the mundane musings of modern life. This collection of short stories illustrates, quite literally, the effectiveness of the medium for telling the most personal of stories — the autobiography — and does so by showcasing some ...

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Overview

Dedicated readers have long known that the medium of comics and graphic novels isn't all about caped super-heroes and spandex-clad bad girls. In fact, the combination of words and pictures can be the perfect vehicle for telling all kinds of stories, from poignant memoirs to lighter takes on the mundane musings of modern life. This collection of short stories illustrates, quite literally, the effectiveness of the medium for telling the most personal of stories — the autobiography — and does so by showcasing some of the first published autobiographical stories from living-legend artists, mainstream greats, and young "indie" up-and-comers.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This slim anthology of autobiographical musings by established comics stars and up-and-comers alike is a mixed bag. Autobiography in comics is a tricky business; a unique perspective is key. Much of this material is straightforward reminiscences from aging talent: Will Eisner on his first rejection; Paul Chadwick on an old apartment; Stan Sakai on a trip to Europe; Sergio Aragones on an encounter with Nixon, etc. These pieces, like others in the book, are fairly prosaic memoirs by artists that veer often into sentimentality and vagaries. Though well drawn in loose, cartoony styles, the stories have no urgency and seem arbitrarily chosen. Furthermore, these and other artists show the world through their eyes, but reveal nothing unusual in the process-it's like sitting next to someone on an airplane and listening to him recite his life story in a monotone. That's the bad news. The good news is that there are a few fine pieces. Frank Miller's hyperbolic account of going to the Daredevil film premiere is ridiculous and entertaining; Paul Hornshemeier's pencil and ink story about drawing his story is thoughtful and well rendered; and Eddie Campbell, of From Hell fame, trumps the entire book with a devastating account of losing his artistic confidence, drawn in his trademark shaky, sensitive pen line. This compilation may be nobly intentioned, but autobiographical comics pioneer Campbell's contribution ultimately shows its deep flaws: in the hands of a master, autobiographical comics can be poignant and affecting, but even those skilled at other kinds of graphic storytelling can't always bring that eloquence to their own experience. (Dec. 2003) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
VOYA
Autobiography can be a tricky business in prose, but the author-artists in this collection tackle it in a graphic format with results as varied as the drawing styles. They range from Frank Miller's semi-surreal Man with the Pen in his Head to Sergio Aragones's more anecdotal The Time I Met Richard Nixon. Honored veterans and up-and-coming indie artists are included. Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba's Qu'est-ce que c'est? relates a confrontation with a French gang on the Metro in Paris. The Building That Didn't Explode by Paul Chadwick muses on the implications of a gas explosion that by rights should have happened but did not. Jason Lutes's Rules to Live By tells of his move from Seattle to Asheville, North Carolina. It is reminiscent of the Talking Heads film True Stories with Lutes narrating and making observations. Parts of Metafrog's narrative in A Traveler's Tale are darkly poetic. From innocent anecdotes to more cynical, pointed observations of life to Matt Wagner's Comic Book Chef, which tells how to make chicken parmesan, the collection provides interesting tales. It also gives the reader an opportunity in one volume to compare graying masters of the graphic format with rising stars. The black-and-white art is interesting and well worth a look. There are, however, instances of gratuitous vulgarity that some may find offensive or inappropriate for their collections. VOYA Codes 4Q 4P S A/YA G (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults; Graphic Novel Format). 2003, Dark Horse, 104p.; Appendix., Trade pb. Ages 15 to Adult.
—Mike Brown
Library Journal
Beginning with an entertaining vignette by Frank Miller about his appearance in last year's movie Daredevil, this anthology of 16 short autobiographical pieces by different comics creators encompasses a great variety of styles and approaches, from Sergio Aragones's straightforward account of his encounter with Richard Nixon to Jason Lutes's more experimental "Rules To Live By." Some, such as Stan Sakai's "France," are slice-of-life pieces, while others are more reflective, like Paul Chadwick's "The Building That Didn't Explode," which ruminates deeply on the capriciousness of death. Will Eisner contributes "The Day I Became a Professional"-and it's not the day he made his first sale. Linda Medley describes a game she and a friend invented as children, and perennial autobiographer Eddie Campbell shares his frustrations about his work. As with most collections, this varies. Not every story will work for every reader-Matt Wagner's recipe for chicken parmigiana seems out of place-but Schutz (who contributes a moment of her own life as well) has expertly arranged the pieces for a good flow. This volume will probably be of most interest to adults, and it's recommended for all collections. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593070380
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Publication date: 12/2/2003
  • Edition description: Not Appropriate For Children
  • Pages: 104
  • Product dimensions: 5.99 (w) x 8.99 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

Frank Miller
Frank Miller
Frank Miller is one of the seminal creative talents who sparked today's onslaught of motion pictures featuring comic book characters and concepts. He single-handedly re-defined the presentation of comic book characters and heroic fiction with his grand-daddy of graphic novels, The Dark Knight Returns. Then his graphic novels turned box-office hits, including 300 and Sin City, proved that success does not always come wrapped in spandex.
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