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Fleener, Mary – Life of the Party


Life of the Party

I’ve been a fan of Mary’s work for as long as I’ve been reading independent comics, I just didn’t know that she had a book out until recently. For those of you who can’t wait to know what I thought, that means yes, I loved the book. I’ve long thought that she was vastly underrated and that she should be one of the rich and famous comic people, but apparently I’m in the minority in that. What you get here is the best that autobio can offer. Her life was fascinating and she doesn’t hesitate to tell a lot of the sordid details. Unless, of course, these are all just invented stories and I’m just falling for it, but it really doesn’t matter. The important thing is that the characters are compelling and the situations are fascinating. What more do you need? She also invented a type of cartooning called “cubism”. It’s basically just… well, look at the cover. There you go. Sometimes it’s used to incredible effect, when characters are in severe distress (or extremely happy through drugs or sex or whatever). Other times it throws off the rhythm of the book for me, but those times are rare. This is pretty cheap at $14.95 considering the amount of stories in it, and there really wasn’t a bad one in the bunch. The stories include her playing bass in a band, talking about her roomate with giant breasts, surfing, dealing with abusive boyfriends, killing slugs, her lesbian experiences… All kinds of fascinating stuff. If you haven’t been reading comics that long you might not know who she is, as she apparently doesn’t do much in the field these days (anybody out there want to fill me in if I’m wrong?). I think she’s incredible, somebody that I would mention in my top ten of favorite comics people of all time.

Graphics Classics – Mark Twain


Graphic Classics: Mark Twain

I love the fact that nobody spent any time in this interpreting The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Clemens (that’s his real name, as a tiny bit of my schoolin’ is clinging to my brain) had pearls of wisdom and quirky little short stories that have probably never been equaled, and that’s what everybody here focused on. The Mysterious Stranger, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, A Dog’s Tale, P.T. Barnum and the Cardiff Giant, and A Ghost Story are a few of the stories in this book. I’d only heard of two people in this one (Rick Geary and Mary Fleener), but it’s obviously a lot more fun than the Bram Stoker volume. It is worth your time to actually seek out some of his books, but this is perfect to introduce children to his work or just a great collection of his stories. It’s still only $9.95 and everything I’ve seen of this series so far shows me that it’s a blast. Website!