Last year I wrote a review for the sample chapter of this book, and my only complaint was that it wasn’t longer. And yes, I did acknowledge that that was a stupid complaint to have for a sample chapter. This time around the whole book is here, and it is exactly as fantastic as I had figured. That’s right, at this point I just automatically assume that any comic of Liz’s is going to be fantastic. A high standard to live up, but she hasn’t had any trouble with it yet. This one starts out at the beginning, with Liz in the middle of a crying fit because she was told to try on a dress when she was 4. As she points out, she wasn’t big on throwing fits back in those days… unless she was told to do/try something girlie. From there we get the story of her life, of her trying to fit in while also not fully understanding why she should have to try, of her learning that lots of boys who you think are your friends are actually trying to date you, and of the almost casual bullying that would be a part of her daily life for the vast majority of her time in school. But she also met more than a few great people along the way, people who could steer her in the right direction and make her understand that there wasn’t a thing wrong with her. I do wonder how Liz would have turned out if she hadn’t met the older lady who put out a regular zine, as that was how she got her “training” in comics, but it sure seems like she was set up to be awesome from a very early age. If you’re a lady who had issues like these growing up, I have to imagine that this is going to bring back some serious memories. If you’re just a regular old former (and, let’s be honest, current) misfit like me who never quite fit in any particular clique growing up, you’re still going to see lots to remind you of school days. And I have to admit that the way she got out of wearing dresses to mass was genius. My trick was a clip-on tie (strictly forbidden) for mass day, then lying brazenly about it whenever I was called out by a teacher. Good thing none of them ever gave it a tug. Hey look, there’s me reminiscing about high school days! See, I told you this book would bring up some old memories. It’s a damned fine book, and even the epilogue was a thing of beauty. Read it and enjoy, unless you were the magical person who was completely fine with every aspect of your growing up. I doubt that such people even exist. $15.99
Tomboy (sample chapter)
Is it kosher for me to admit that my only problem with this comic is that it’s only a sample chapter of a much larger graphic novel, when the entire purpose of said comic is to serve as a teaser for the larger book (that is coming out in September)? No? Eh, I didn’t think so either. Still, when my only complaint about a comic is that I very much wanted to see more of it, it should be pretty clear that I had no real complaints at all. This whole thing is going to be a memoir of the early years of Liz Prince, as she tries to figure out how to navigate the world as something other than the typical girly-girl but still not quite a tomboy. This comic in particular starts off with her time on the baseball team when she was 10 and how her image of where she thought she should fit in did not coincide at all with where her coach thought she should play. In her mind she was a skilled pitcher, striking out everyone she faced, while her coach was perfectly content to stick her in right field and hope that no balls were hit in her direction. The rest of the comic deals with her time at a Girl Scout camp and the horrible things it taught her about how girls interacted with and talked about each other. She learned that girls could be made fun of regarding their bodies, even though it’s not like she chose her body. She also learned the horrors of swimming in a tee shirt, although she tells that lesson much better than I ever could, so maybe you should read all about that for yourself. I’d advise you to wait until the entire book comes out (she says September 2nd, so it should be somewhere around there), and you can use the link for her website to find out exactly how to do that. I think this means that the sample comic works as well as it could, as I can’t wait to see the whole thing and strongly advise the rest of you to check it out when it’s released. If you’re already a fan of her work you don’t need any reminding of that fact, but if you haven’t read any of her other comics this looks like a good introduction to her work. After all, what’s a better introduction to the work of an artist than the story of their childhood?