Monday, August 9, 2010
Once upon a time, a pair of queer, female autobiographical cartoonists decided to have a conversation -- not a chat on the phone, not passing messages over email, but a conversation tucked neatly into the four walls of a comic panel. Erika Moen and Lucy Knisley decided to attempt a collaborative comic with a simple premise: the two take turns drawing and writing an intimate conversation about comics, sex, and identity politics. One artist would draw half a panel, then pass it on to the other, who would finish the panel and then start the next. The result is Drawn to You, a rambling, unscripted dialogue that sets Moen's thick, energetic lines against Knisley's careful, fine ones.
If you're like me, and you already love Moen and Knisley and you enjoy getting a little inside baseball on the comic-making process, Drawn to You is a delightful way to spend an hour. The pair talk about their anxieties around making comics (Is cartooning an innately selfish career? Why does representing one member of a particular group always seem to infuriate other members of the same group?), their sexual identities (both were, at the time, in long-term relationships with men but have dated women in the past), and the artistic perils of being a girl cartoonist (Moen worries that her fart humor, stripper-ogling comics garner so much acclaim because she's female; Knisley flinches at the stigma of being called "cute"). For those not already familiar with their work, Drawn to You might not be the best place to start, although it would be an interesting teaser (although it might send people running for Erika's mini comics or Lucy's art school anthology).
My one complaint about Drawn to You: I'd like it to be about ten times longer and organized by topic. As it stands, Drawn to You feels like the graphic version of a podcast, with two creators interviewing each other and shooting the shit. If Moen and Knisley were to continue it as a series (either with each other cartoonists), this book would stand as a stronger single entry.
Drawn to You [Erika Moen's Totally Awesome Goods]