"Scheherazade: Comics About Love, Treachery, Mothers, and Monsters", edited by Megan Kelso
Who was Scheherazade? Did she tell stories to an emperor to distract him from cutting off her head? (I realize that in the modern world one can simply click on Wikipedia and know everything, but I'm pretending it's still 1974!) These are short comics by women, published by Soft Skull Press in 2004.
Are women the greatest comic book artists today? Quite possibly, judging from this collection, expertly edited by Megan Kelso (nice name!). It turns out that the cartoon medium is not the best for superhero fantasies. Much better is special effects-laden film. What a comic book excels at is confession, intimate memory, whimsy, gossip.
These comic-pieces (I'm uncertain what to call them: "cartoon-essays"?) border on literature or sophisticated visual art, or both. All of the intelligence you don't see in contemporary fiction is visible here. These pieces are modest, anecdotal, but together they form -- as the title suggests -- an anti-epic, about the heroism of disappointment. We never forget our failures, and our successes seem almost to be mocking us. Yet we continue. (Except for J. Manix, a French artist who died at the age of 30 or 31. I violated my previous vow and searched for her on the Internet, but found essentially nothing -- except the phrase "It is difficult to find information about Manix" on artblog.net. J.'s piece in this book, "Birthday Present," is about shopping with her mother in Paris. Sample dialogue: "Ladies, may I help you?" "Yes, we are looking for a bra.")
Most of these cartoonists are young. The oldest, Jennifer Daydreamer, was born in 1965.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.