I Love Led Zeppelin

I Love Led Zeppelin

After greatly enjoying Ellen Forney’s Marbles, I thought I’d check out her earlier book, I Love Led Zeppelin, a varied collection of short pieces.

A couple of these strips were familiar to me from Marbles, in fact, having been referenced or appearing in that book. Most of them, though, are much different. Not only are they shorter, a lot of them are non-fiction, focused outwards instead of to the artist’s interior.

The first major section of the book contains 14 “how to” strips, each a page (except for the drug ones, those are two), covering some very unusual topics — being a call girl, for example, or reattaching a severed finger. Forney handles these text-heavy pages well, with just enough illustration detail to get points across and keep the strips interesting. Many readers will be titillated by the subject matter, the kind of daring topics that go well with comics’ underground roots.

I Love Led Zeppelin

Of the three remaining categories — “More Short Comics”, “’92-’94”, and “Collaborations” — the first two sections are similar, differing only in piece lengths. They’re both intriguing glimpses into how Forney thinks about life, death, sex, and drugs. Two of the more substantial entries cover “My Date With Camille Paglia” (not really) and taking nudie pictures, similar in subject to the first section. There are, however, a couple of intriguing wordless pieces about working out in different ways and how it reflects mental state.

The book concludes with a story about coming out and drug use written by David Schmader, an overwrought piece about how Julie Batters met Tom Waits, and two by Dan Savage: one about coming out, the other about wearing drag. There are also a few shorter pieces written by others, which feel like leftovers. It’s great to see more of her cartooning such subjects, but I would have ended with her stronger, self-written work.

Overall, while the book isn’t as significant or meaningful as Marbles, it’s an entertaining, spicy read. For me, it provided new context for the background behind her story, fleshing out a decadent life in strong, distinctive lines.

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