Jumbly Junkery #4

L. Nichols does the usual collection of bits’n’strips of personal observations, but I like her perspective, especially politically. Don’t get me wrong, only a few of the strips here are about being a woman in a “man’s” field (engineering) — most are about coming to terms with yourself and your identity. Some are even about observing pet behavior. If you don’t find something to relate to (for me, it was an allergy attack), you’ll at least find something amusing (such as the cats relaxing around the Hello Kitty humidifier).

Jumbly Junkery #4

One recurring strip is titled “Confessions”, about things that distub Nichols about herself, whether paranoia or regret over a childhood choice to lose her accent or feeling like she’s let her parents down. Others deal with never-ending repetitive work as a recurring wheel of the same tasks or feeling like you don’t recognize yourself in the mirror. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a downer book. Her insights share the uncertainty and confusion we all feel at times, and knowing someone else empathizes with similar issues is ultimately uplifting, even funny.

I really like the way the stand-in for the author is a rag doll with button eyes sown on with Xs. It’s a subtle allusion to the cartoon sign of death, but it also acknowledges herself feeling constructed, put together out of the experiences she draws about. I also enjoyed her quick reference to how the changing seasons affect mood, with a strip about the different ways of waking up in winter and spring. Even with doll eyes, you can see the visible difference in attitude in how she draws the figure.

The background wash grey tones are attractive. It’s a shame that the cover is so minimalist, because I don’t think it represents the skilled work within. I don’t recall seeing these books at all at SPX, for example, although she was there and I would have liked to have gotten more.

Find out more at dirtbetweenmytoes.com. (The flickr link has sample pages.) Alan David Doane has also recommended this comic.

5 Responses to “Jumbly Junkery #4”

  1. ADD Says:

    Glad to see you liked Nichols’s stuff too, Johanna. I have a feeling we’ll be hearing a lot more about her work before too long.

    Her honesty, visual style and willingness to tackle a wide variety of subjects really appeal to me, and I’m looking forward to seeing where her work goes in the years ahead.

  2. Toni Jo Says:

    L. Nichols is amazingly talented and I’m so happy when others recognize it!

    I completely agree; It will be exciting to see how her work progresses over time. I’ll definitely be reading.

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