Beginning at the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2014, and ending on January 1, 2015, Leslie Stein began drawing a comics page a night. Fueled by an urge toward visual and narrative experimentation and made possible by serendipitous bouts of insomnia, Stein has combined words and images in a series of comic strips, paintings, and collages that reflect her life.
Bright-Eyed at Midnight collects the best of the 365 pages she made in 2014. By turns funny, unsettling, charming, and improvisational, Stein explores her 1980s childhood, dreams, travel, artist’s block, drinking, recording and playing rock shows, and bar patrons, along with quiet moments of introspection and loneliness in the most exciting city in America. Drawn in pen and ink and vibrant watercolors, and written in a minimalist, poetic cadence, Bright-Eyed at Midnight is a thoughtful, meditative visual diary by an acclaimed cartoonist.
“Leslie Stein’s comics give readers privileged access to a complete and wholly original world of gently skewed wonders.” — Jim Woodring
“Visual inventiveness combined with a high level of wit.” — Michael Kupperman
“Cute and sad and familiar, especially if you’re 30 or under.” — Vice
“An immensely charming read that spotlights Stein’s artistic versatility. ... Her moments of experimentation make for some of the most striking pages.” — The A.V. Club
“A dreamy collage of watercolor images and words, with themes and scenes spanning from Stein’s 1980s childhood, to playing rock and roll, to hanging out at bars, to dreams, to artist’s block.” — Entertainment Weekly
“The book is a record of one person’s encounters with the desperation of loneliness as well as the warmth of meaningful connection. Both states are depicted in a gorgeous, heightened manner that speaks directly to Stein’s approach to life.” — The Comics Journal
Read Leslie Stein's interview with The Paris Review