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Lucky
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Lucky

by Gabrielle Bell
 

A wry daily comics journal of urban ennui

Gabrielle Bell fascinatingly documents the mundane details of her below-minimum-wage, twentysomething existence in Brooklyn, New York, with a subtle humor. Her simple, unadorned drawing style, heavy narration, and biting wit chronicle transient roommates who communicate only through Post-it notes; aspiring artists

Overview

A wry daily comics journal of urban ennui

Gabrielle Bell fascinatingly documents the mundane details of her below-minimum-wage, twentysomething existence in Brooklyn, New York, with a subtle humor. Her simple, unadorned drawing style, heavy narration, and biting wit chronicle transient roommates who communicate only through Post-it notes; aspiring artists who sublet tiny rooms in leaky, greasy broken-down border-house loft apartments crawling with bugs, cats, and bad art. Bell tackles a string of forgettable, unrelated jobs—including nude modeling, artist's assistant, art teacher, and jewelry maker—that only serve to bolster her despair, boredom, and discomfort in her own skin.Bell's self-scrutiny leads her to dream sequences that allow her to rise above her banal actuality and hyperawareness. She fantasizes about her vision of a perfect world as she becomes the accomplished artist and world traveler she longs to be. Bell's daily comics allow her to escape the harsh, judgmental gaze of the world and the monotony of daily life. Her unpolished art speaks to a desire to record all the messy details while the pain and confusion are still fresh.

Coming of age amid the zine revolution, cartoonist Gabrielle Bell has been creating her comics to much acclaim, even winning an Ignatz Award for the self-published serialization of Lucky.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This collection of short stories lacks some of the artistic sophistication of most books from art comics publisher Drawn & Quarterly-the drawings are, in fact, about as bare bones as it gets-but it still manages to be completely engrossing. Paradoxically, the stories are interesting-even addictive-because Bell has such a flair for communicating a specific brand of postcollegiate ennui. Her day-to-day existence is a litany of dilapidated rental apartments, low-paying jobs, yoga classes and artistic frustration, but Bell's straightforward storytelling reveals a true poignancy amid the tedium. Far from being depressing, these snippets of daily life in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, N.Y., are comforting in their frankness and familiarity; by settling into the rhythm of the artist's daily life, the reader experiences the heft of small victories and simple pleasures. Never laugh-out-loud funny, brief tales of yoga roommate miscommunication, ignorant comics buyers, the anguish of nude modeling, and sex-obsessed, adolescent art students radiate good humor and are sure to resonate with a certain stripe of well-educated, underemployed 20-something comic reader. Lucky is yet another sophisticated, nuanced pleasure. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Struggling artists of all types (and those who love them) will find a kindred spirit in this graphic diarist/memoirist. Nothing all that momentous happens in the comics of Bell (When I'm Old and Other Stories, 2005), but her accounts of the frustrations of finding apartments, dealing with roommates and supporting herself with odd jobs (from nude modeling to assisting a more commercially successful artist, who takes credit for some of Bell's work) ring engagingly true. There's a childlike innocence to her drawings that complements the confessional intimacy of her work. The first and longest section takes the form of a six-week journal, mainly a six-panel strip per day. It shows Bell and her boyfriend, Tom, attempting to find apartments and suitable roommates for each other (cohabitation apparently doesn't strike either of them as a good idea) and encountering a menagerie of humanity in the process. It seems the best way to make a roommate situation work is to communicate by Post-it notes and only be there when the other isn't. The saddest story concerns the loss of her sketchbook (a month's worth of work and the second issue of Lucky) in a rush to catch an airplane. The funniest episode finds Bell teaching drawing to a couple of French boys, whose major interest lies in drawing comics with vulgarities and obscenities. The last and shortest entry takes a turn toward the surreal, as a hole in the bathroom wall exacerbates conflicts between a couple, until the man crawls into the hole, never to return. These slice-of-life, matter-of-fact (and occasionally fantasy) strips sustain a wry, bittersweet humor and disarming warmth.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781897299012
Publisher:
Drawn & Quarterly
Publication date:
11/28/2006
Pages:
112
Product dimensions:
7.25(w) x 9.19(h) x 0.67(d)

Meet the Author

Born in London and raised in California, GABRIELLE BELL lives in Brooklyn. She regularly contributes to anthologies, most recently the Drawn & Quarterly Showcase Book 4.

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