- Posted by Johanna on December 9, 2010 at 7:31 pm
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
I enjoyed reading Julia Wertz’s Drinking at the Movies so much that I picked up her previous book, The Fart Party Volume 2. I’m glad I did. It was a different experience than the book I’d read, but equally enjoyable.
This book is much more a webcomic collection than the newer book, which has some longer stories. I like reading these volumes in backward chronological order, because it’s like getting to know a new friend and then hearing more stories from her past.
Volume 2 picks up after Volume 1 (which I haven’t read yet), which she ends with her then-boyfriend leaving her for law school. Here, she opens with an introduction that reveals that they first tried a long-distance relationship. That retelling of the story with a different interpretation makes it seem more authentic.
Wertz’s subjects are those of an aimless young woman, which qualifies as escapism for me. In addition to the struggles of having a remote boyfriend, she grapples with a waitress job, appearing at conventions, and visiting other artists. She travels to New York for the first time, foreshadowing her later move there in Drinking at the Movies. She’s so young, sometimes, in her reactions and struggles — still trying to figure out what love means, and how much she should consider cartooning a career.
Her simple self-caricature, with its hair helmet and huge bubble eyes, is surprisingly evocative and expressive. Her anger at daily frustrations is understandable, as she portrays it, amusingly exaggerated in violent images that are better here on the page than worked out in real life. Even the smallest incidents have a reason to be told. It’s such an unexpected story in her refusal to be a girl before she’s a person.
Much of this book is a sketchy version of her usual style, as she traveled for a month and kept a diary in simple, stick-figure form. Her face, though, is still similar, a comforting focus of the page. The volume ends with some sketches of the city and her thoughts on saying goodbye to San Francisco. Read more at Julia Wertz’s website.