Alone Forever: The Singles Collection
I thought Liz Prince’s first book, Will You Still Love Me If I Wet the Bed?, was charmingly cute in its portrayal of hipsters in love. But it’s been almost ten years since then (with Delayed Replays along the way), and Prince is now single and grumpy.
Alone Forever: The Singles Collection collects her webcomic strips on the subject. The style is still raw and hand-lettered, as though we’re peeking into her sketchbook journal, but the figures and panel construction are much more accomplished, demonstrating the benefit of her years of work.
Prince makes fun of herself — going outside the house dressed sloppy, or eating too much garlic — when she’s not capturing moments with her cats. Her moments of outreach fail, not in large fashion, just quietly disappointing. She visits bars and pays attention to cute boys when she’s out in the world, but she’d rather be curled up in bed with the felines. It’s a portrait of life that feels authentic, particularly for a milieu of bearded guys in headphones and flannel shirts.
The page about her involvement with a punk guy, a relationship that fades out in “TXT unreturned… email unanswered” is particularly affecting. She describes the situation, conveys her emotion, and finishes with artistic symbolism that will feel right to anyone whose relationship ends with a whimper instead of a bang. Her use of online dating is also a modern fact of life.
Although the title suggests gloom, there’s a good amount of humor and optimism here, as Prince keeps trying, and keeps on with her life. Her self-deprecation makes her a lovable character, someone you want to spend time with. Although she develops crushes easily, she’s got high expectations for whom to give her heart to, and that’s refreshing to see. It’s hard to be single, particularly when hanging out with couples, but her frustration and anger and resignation are funny and realistic. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)