Loosely based on a teenager’s diary from the 1980s found in a gas-station bathroom, Unlovable is the remarkable story of Tammy Pierce, as filtered through the pen and brush of Los Angeles artist Esther Pearl Watson. This boxed set collects the complete, acclaimed two-volume saga of Tammy’s sophomore year of high school in 1989.
Tammy has built a devoted following over the last several years in the pages of BUST magazine, where Unlovable continues to be serialized on the magazine’s back page, and this beautifully produced, slipcased collection features all 832 pages of her sometimes ordinary, sometimes humiliating, often poignant and always hilarious exploits. Her hopes, dreams, agonies and defeats are brought to vivid, comedic life by Watson’s lovingly grotesque drawings, filled with all the eighties essentials — too much mascara, leg warmers with heels and huge hair, etc. — as well as timeless teen concerns like acne, dandruff, and the opposite sex (or same sex, in some cases). Unlovable addresses the mysteries of adolescence through Tammy’s naivete; girls and women in particular will find much that resonates, but men will also relate to Unlovable’s universal humor and wide cast of characters. Tammy’s life isn’t pretty, but it is endlessly charming and hilarious.
This complete edition is handsomely packaged in a specially designed, sturdy slipcase, making it an ideal gift item.
From über-fan Chris Diaz comes this all-star montage of clips filmed at last year's Alternative Press Expo, just in time for this year's show! Among others you'll see Dash Shaw, Frank Santoro & Jon Vermilyea showing off Mome Vol. 16 at our table, Esther Pearl Watson & Mark Todd at their Funchicken setup, and our very own expo expert extraordinaire Janice Headley rocking her Jad Fair glasses.
Esther Pearl Watson is participating in a number of events in the coming weeks, beginning with a discussion of her graphic novel Unlovable along with a slideshow of process, inspiration and oddities at the Houston Public Library on Saturday, September 18th at 2:30 PM as part of Graphic Novel Day. Looks like a fun event:
• Review: "There's lots to love in the latest gleeful offering from the pen of BUST's genius cartoonist-in-residence Esther Pearl Watson. ...[T]he sturdily bound, sparkly cover encloses lavish, whole-page panels that allow for lingering close-up absorption of Watson's creation, which lovingly combines gross-out comic-book camp with bittersweet teenage nostalgia. [...] Bursting with late-80s pop-cultural references and buoyed by the exuberance of Watson's flamboyant heroine, Unlovable, Vol. 2 is an irresistibly hilarious, tenderly drawn treat for your inner teen." – Renate Robertson, BUST
• Coming Attractions:Robot 6's Michael May looks ahead to November: "The Littlest Pirate King – ...I really need to find out how you tell a kids’ story about cursed pirates with a death wish and the malevolent God who prevents them from achieving their goal."
Brother Mario made a surprise appearance with the rest of the Hernandez clan for their Love and Rockets signing on Friday morning, which I only managed to capture with my crummy, crummy cameraphone.
Moto Hagio was joined for the second half of her signing by Carol Tyler, who brought flowers swiped from outside the convention hall.
Andrei Molotiu and Stephen DeStefano made their first Comic-Con signing appearances with us. Andrei, though best known for his work with abstract comics, is also a whiz with the representational sketch, as he proved in my sketchbook. Stephen obliged another fan with a 'Mazing Man sketch.
I missed getting any actual photos of Johnny Ryan & Esther Pearl Watson during their Friday signing, but here's their whiteboard sign-in. Esther's is particularly funny if you know the secret symbolic code from Unlovable.
Friday's final signing was a special treat as Blake Bell was joined by Wendy Everett, daughter of Bill Everett, subject of Blake's new book (and an almost-immediate con sell-out) Fire & Water.
Our first signing of the day featured Johnny Ryan signing the brand new Prison Pit: Book 2 and Esther Pearl Watson signing both volumes of Unlovable and working artwork for on her top-secret new graphic novel in progress. The Johnny logo on the whiteboard is by me, but then I had the better idea of having the artists sign themselves in, so Esther's is by Esther.
• Review: "In Weathercraft, his first foray into graphic-novel territory, Seattle denizen Jim Woodring employs his repertory troupe of ambiguous, liminal characters — Frank, Manhog, Pupshaw, and Pushpaw — to tell the kind of Pilgrim's Progress tale that David Lynch might have conjured up if he were a cartoonist. ... Impermanence, the conundrum of physical senses that guide and ensnare at the same time, the challenge of a rational response to an irrational universe — all this and more await the returning fan or the open-minded acolyte in Woodring's best work yet. And for an artist of his caliber, that's saying something." – Damian Van Denburgh, Critical Mob
• Review: "Loaded with hipster irony, profanity and long digressive conversations, it’s a loving tribute to half-repudiated childhood pleasures. ... At times, Dungeon Quest captures the anything-goes wanderlust of Calvin & Hobbes — if Calvin’s fantasies were real, set in rundown Los Angeles neighborhoods and loaded with swearing." – Jason Thompson, The Comics Journal
• Review: "The relationship stuff all rings true, and when it gets weird at the end, it doesn’t seem random and arbitrary, and that’s a difficult trick to pull off. ... I found Werewolves [of Montpellier] to be a delightful read; no profound life lessons were learned, but Jason’s storytelling is first-rate and life lessons are overrated anyway." – Johnny Bacardi, Popdose
• Reviewer:On his blog, Jason reviews the film Léon Morin, prêtre
• Review: "Deep within the barroom psychosis, Lane looks into the abyss and thinks about spitting into it. The drive that leads to destruction can also be a powerful and satisfying personal experience. While each story in Abandoned Cars ties together in a thick knot of dread, the best story sees Lane go on a blatantly autobiographical adventure, and head out for an adventure by jumping on trains." – Bob Temuka, The Tearoom of Despair
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