DAR: A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary
Erika Moen has self-published the first collection of her webcomic DAR: A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary (NSFW link), collecting her strips from 2006-2008. Although there are plenty of webcomic diary strips, this one is like none other.
First, it’s remarkably bawdy and explicit. Erika is not shy about dealing with bodies, her own or others, and physical functions like sex or farting. Her portrayal of these are both funny and honest. You’ll know from the first few strips whether you can keep up with her — the first is illustrations of various things that make her orgasm, while the second is her playing with her man’s penis. But for every adults-only subject, such as a visit to a strip joint, there’s a remarkably sweet or emotionally affecting strip, like the one about kissing your love while drinking tea.
Some you can relate to. The idea of a simple treat like cookies making the day better matches most people’s experience. Some are really thought-provoking, such as “Autobiography”, where the artist tackles the question, “Is it hard to write about people you know?” Some of the full-nude strips can be unbearably cute, a juxtaposition you rarely see. The one about shaving her cat (“The cat is a euphemism”, the strip helpfully points out) is a wonderful use of the comic format in a way no other medium could support.
Also, Erika is a fascinating person. She’s an artist who also works as a live nude model. She identifies as a lesbian but fell in love with and married a man. (Her introduction, which covers the years 2003-2006, sums up this history. I’d like to hear a lot more about her choices and emotions in this area.) She’s clearly not shy when it comes to telling stories about any of these elements.
I’ve read other autobiographical comics about similar subjects where my reaction was “Too much information!” I wanted to avoid meeting the artist as a result, because it felt like I didn’t have the right to know so much about them when I’d never met them. With Erika, it’s different. Her personality seems open and accommodating and like she’d be a terrific person to hang out with.
Most importantly, she’s a dynamite artist. Her cartooning is fluid and accomplished. She uses tricks of the medium to capture motion when necessary and always just the right moment.