Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Guest Review: Julia Wertz reviewed by Eric Nelson

Julia Wertz, Fart Party, Vol. 1. Baltimore: Atomic Book Company, 2007. Collected comics. 178 pages. ISBN: 978-0978656935.

Brooklyn-based artist Julia Wertz began publishing the online comic Fart Party when she was still residing in San Francisco over five years ago. Since then, this biting and brutally honest autobiographical comic has developed a well-earned following. Wertz, who also recently published her debut feature-length graphic novel Drinking at the Movies writes earnestly about the embarrassing, mundane and ridiculous events of one female cartoonist.

The genre of autobiographic comics is often plagued by self-consciousness and insincerity. I think the best example of this is shown by Jonny Ryan in a one-off comic about Art Spiegelman running past the Twin Towers saying "Pulitzer, here I come!" While many of Wertz's comics are to be taken facetiously, they refreshingly lack any sense of irony or vanity. A large portion of the material (80% of which was never featured on the original website) is relatable even as she waxes non-poetic on cheese, comics and the 101 things that irritate her. The collection also touches on the more serious as multiple comics deal with her relationship with her now ex-boyfriend. While one can easily find many of her comics online, the book is a necessity not only to witness the evolution of her visual style and subject content, but also because many of the best panels can only be found there. Definitely someone to look out for in the future.

Reviewed by
Eric Nelson, zinester and author of Silk City Series (Knickerbocker Circus Publishing, 2010)

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