Hipster! Comic-Strip Dispatches From Brooklyn, NY
Greg Farrell, author of On the Books: A Graphic Tale of Working Woes at NYC’s Strand Bookstore, is back with Hipster! Comic-Strip Dispatches From Brooklyn, NY. It’s a collection of autobio comics covering life as described by the title.
I found it horrid. Not because of the style or author, but because of the subject matter. If you want to be convinced of why you should never live in New York City, or if you’ve left and want confirmation you made the right choice, just check out these stories about insect and rodent infestation, including bedbugs; car break-ins; panhandlers; bad roommates; noisy neighbors; and an abusive girlfriend. It quickly became overwhelming to me, with so much misery and discomfort in one place.
Halfway through the book, Farrell moves to flashback, telling of trying to get his brother a Wii when they first came out. It could be heart-warming, but then his story of camping out in front of a store turns into a piece on repeated purchases sold for profit. The book gets stranger from there, with stories about how the author is addicted to pot and his electrical sensitivity.
Autobiography can give the impression you know someone, when in reality you just know the scenes they’ve chosen in the way they’ve chosen to portray them. The selection here, though, gives a poor impression of the author and the life he puts up with. I haven’t learned anything new or seen incidents in a particularly insightful way. If anything, I’ve had my biases against urban life and drug users reinforced.
Farrell’s style is best suited to non-fiction, as he uses lengthly captions, with the art taking second place. It shows what he’s already described in text or a follow-up gag. The most involving part of the book for me is a text piece at the end that talks about how he’s seen no money from Microcosm, the publisher of his previous book, and his thoughts on future comic work. It’s depressingly unfortunate. (The publisher provided a review copy.)