TRUTH IS FRAGMENTARY by Gabrielle Bell

TRUTH IS FRAGMENTARY

Travelogues & Diaries

KIRKUS REVIEW

A collection of comic diary entries about drawing comics.

After the justified acclaim generated by her previous volume (The Voyeurs, 2012), this feels more like a stopgap—part travel journal of her visits to international comics conventions, part monthlong chronicling of every day in July for three successive years, even when, as she often admits, she was experiencing nothing that was inspiring her to draw comics. “I have ten days left of this arbitrary, self-imposed month of daily comics regimen and it is starting to wear on me,” she admits in July 2011. “It’s not so easy. I can’t just crank these things out. I have to try to reveal enough to create some sort of emotional impact but not so much that anyone feels compromised. And the most interesting stories are the ones I can never tell.” The approach works as illumination of the artist’s mind, creative process and challenges, but the stories she can’t tell would likely be more interesting. There are a lot of drawings on planes (with jostled penmanship) and chance encounters at airports. There are postmodern responses from friends on what she is drawing, reservations about “comics about me doing comics.” A couple of exceptions rise above the mundane: There’s a surrealistic entry in which she buys a bottle of “Brain Booster” and suddenly remembers everything, until it wears off and she can’t remember anything. There’s also a shift in tone and perspective in the entry on a trip to Colombia, after reading Montaigne, purportedly drawn by the secretary she hired to chronicle the activities of “Miss Bell,” including an appearance where Miss Bell is asked, “How do you manage to promote your work in spite of your obvious social awkwardness?”

These are more like sketchbooks from an artist who perhaps needed to clear away the clutter before moving on.

Pub Date: May 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-988901-45-2
Page count: 140pp
Publisher: Uncivilized Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2014




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