Graphic Novel Reviews #1

Be Everything at Once: Tales of a Cartoonist Lady Person
by Dami Lee

Paperback, 160 pages
Published August 7th 2018 by Chronicle Books
Source: Raincoast Books

Dami Lee’s debut collects memoir-ish comic strips about a woman trying to figure out where she fits. Lee documents her experiences as a Korean in America for the first time, trying to navigate a foreign culture and language. Flipping it about, she also writes and draws about trying to adapt to Korea again once she and her parents return. Her realization that she is too American for Korea and too Korean for America has her in a quandry and make her easy to relate to as I believe many of us find ourselves in a liminal space, not belonging to the culture of our birth or to the culture we currently live in.

I did not like the collection as much as I hoped I would simply because the humour didn’t really work for me. The strips were a bit too simplistic in tone and execution. There is a lot of room for growth and I feel like Lee is an artist to keep an eye on as she grows and collects experiences that will affect the richness of her art and writing.

 

Woman World
by Aminder Dhaliwal

Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 11th 2018 by Drawn and Quarterly
Source: Raincoast Books

Woman World was sent to me entirely by chance but as soon as I read the back, I knew it was meant for me. The story focuses on a future where men have died out. They are extinct. The only ones left are women.

Dhaliwal takes on serious topics with humour and wit. The irreverence underlines the profundity of her observations at times and simply makes you laugh out loud at others. The graphic novel looks at feminism and the female body in interesting ways. What is most wonderful is the way Dhaliwal writes the multiple ways of being female when you are not being pushed into too narrow boxes.

Plus, did I mention, the book is funny? I feel like this is a title people need to pick up and experience for themselves. No matter who you are, some part of it is going to appeal to you.