The voyeurs

Gabrielle Bell

Book - 2012

"The voyeurs is a real-time memoir of four turbulent years in the life of renowned cartoonist and diarist Gabrielle Bell"--P. [4] cover.

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BIOGRAPHY/Bell, Gabrielle
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Graphic novels
Minneapolis, MN : Uncivilized Books 2012.
Main Author
Gabrielle Bell (-)
1st ed
Physical Description
156 p. : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 24 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Autobiographical cartoonist Bell combines comic charm, obsessive self-examination, and an oddly entertaining touch of self-pity ("I've pretty much spent my life trying to be a cartoonist, and what do I have to show for it? A wikipedia page and arrested development") in a new series of full-color vignettes that document her life as part of a free-floating community of indie comics artists drifting between the neighborhood bars of Brooklyn and L.A. and an international and domestic circuit of comics conventions. Add to those attributes a vividly depicted sense of the surreal, evoked through a methodical six-panel-a-page grid and panels crowded with Bell's whiny (but funny) self-critical text and detailed, stylishly schematic drawings of her life, lovers, friends and neurotic obsessions. While the collection has its share of humorous contradictions-the account of her relationship and breakup with filmmaker Michel Gondry manages to be both sweetly loopy and a little mean-it also depicts a darker, more demandingly neurotic and depressive Bell than her previous books, while also offering a thoughtful account of her meandering path to making art. So what if she's a high maintenance girlfriend? Her thoughtful and revealing comics are eccentric, funny, and irresistibly readable. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review

"Graphic memoir" only hints at the artistry of a complex, literary-minded author who resists the bare-all confessionalism so common to the genre and blurs the distinction between fiction and factual introspection. Who are "The Voyeurs?" In the short, opening title piece, they are a mixed-gender group standing on an urban rooftop, watching a couple have sex through a window in a nearby building. They tend to find the experience "uncomfortable," even "creepy," though those who remain raptly silent may well be more interested, even titillated. Bell (Lucky, 2006, etc.) is also a voyeur of sorts, chronicling the lives of others in significant detail while contemplating her own. As she admits before addressing an arts class in frigid Minneapolis, where she knows the major interest will be on how she has been able to turn her comics into a career, "I feel I need to disclaim this story.' I set myself the task of reporting my trip, though there's not much to it, and I can't back out now. It's my compulsion to do this, it's my way, I suppose, of fighting against the meaninglessness constantly crowding in." The memoir encompasses travels that take her from Brooklyn to Los Angeles and from Japan to France, while addressing the challenges of long-distance relationships, panic attacks, contemporary feminism, Internet obsessiveness, the temptation to manipulate life to provide material for her work, and the ultimate realization, in the concluding "How I Make My Comics," of her creative process: "Then I want to blame everyone I've known ever for all the failures and frustrations of my life, and I want to call someone up and beg them to please help me out of this misery somehow, and when I realize how futile both these things are I feel the cold, sharp sting of the reality that I'm totally and utterly alone in the world. Then I slap on a punchline and bam, I'm done." Playfully drawn and provocatively written, the memoir reinforces Bell's standing among the first rank of the genre's artists.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.