- Posted by Johanna on June 18, 2006 at 9:25 am
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- CREDITS: by Molly Kiely
- PUBLISHER: Fantagraphics; $12.95 US
A writer takes an erotic road trip in this graphic novel for adults only.
Diva is heading out to her trailer in the desert for some time alone writing. During the day, it’s just her and her typewriter and open space as far as the eye can see. There’s a brief hetero encounter, after Diva fixes a guy’s stalled car (go talented woman!), but the core relationship of the book begins when she picks up the larger-than-life hitchhiking cowgirl Ruby Justice.
Kiely’s linework is incredible, very design-influenced and easy to get lost in. Her women are glamourous in their self-possession, as though 40s movie stars went through the sexual revolution in San Francisco. I’m not a “beauty of nature” type, but her sparse vistas and scenes of desert freedom showed me the wonder of the Southwest. Her character images are great, with her heroine in sun hat, sunglasses, braids, and simple halter dress an icon — now no one can draw that better.
Ruby and Diva discuss life, make out, do each other’s hair, sleep together, and part. Kiely’s good with fantasy of all kinds, including the perfect weekend-out-of-time when everything’s right that breaks writer’s block, but it all ends. There’s also an art-show pickup, an appreciation of sex and beauty that’s nothing more (but why should it be?), and a reunion with a long-distance painter boyfriend.
Diva’s adventures show the truth of the saying “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.” She’s open to whatever comes her way, and as a result, she truly lives. It’s healthy desire, on paper.
For samples, visit Molly Kiely’s website or sito.org. There are four original erotic comic strips of hers online. Sequential Tart published a much-too-serious overview of her work with some interesting information on her out-of-print earliest comics. Her previous collection was Diary of a Dominatrix and her next graphic novel was Tecopa Jane, a surreal meditation on art and lost love.