Friday, October 17, 2014

Book-A-Day 2014 #288: Alone Forever by Liz Prince

Somewhere there must be confident people: self-assured, steely-eyed, always knowing exactly what they're doing right now and what will come next. But I don't think I've ever met any of them.

Most of us instead are neurotic, confused, self-conscious -- sometimes verging on self-loathing -- and the only thing we're ever sure of is that what we're doing now is completely wrong in ways we can almost explain. Luckily, that can be pretty funny when it happens to someone else.

Liz Prince is like most of us: geeky (about comics and punk music), self-conscious, awkward, in her own way too much of the time. But, unlike most of us, she's self-possessed enough and disciplined enough to turn those awkward moments into comics, where the rest of us can laugh at them and where they turn into art instead of the cringe-worthy moments of a life.

Alone Forever collects a loose series of comics by Prince on the subject of love and relationships and dating; they originally appeared on her website irregularly over the course of three years and were turned into a book in time for this past Valentine's Day. (So I'm getting to it a little late: that just means I'm giving you a lot of notice for next Valentine's Day.)

The whole point of the strips here is that Liz is alone and undateable, so there are strips about her cats, about the strange faces she makes when trying to flirt, about her crushes on young men in flannel and beards, about her travails on OKCupid and similar sites, and her borderline stalkerish behavior. Of course, it's Prince herself telling us about all of these things, so we might suspect she's exaggerating slightly. But that doesn't matter: what matters is the character of Liz Prince that she creates in these strips, and that character is wonderfully specific and distinct.

Prince has a quick, sketchy, indy-comics style; her strips fall squarely into that shoe-gazing style of autobio comics epitomized by James Kochalka and including Julia Wertz and Jeffrey Brown. It's informal-looking and conversational, with rough panel borders (where they exist at all) and pen lines of all the same thickness. But she has a great sense of humor about herself and well-honed sensibility for turning the small awkward moments of her life into comics. No one ever needs a book like this, but if you are or know someone awkward in love, this is a great book to have on hand.

Book-A-Day 2014 Introduction and Index

No comments:

Post a Comment