Binky Brown Meets the Virgin Mary by Justin Green

Binky Brown Meets the Virgin Mary
by Justin Green
McSweeney’s Books, 2009

An almost obscenely lavish reprint of Green’s seminal autobiographical comic from 1972. What started out as the 44-page confession of a lapsed Catholic whose adolescence was ruined by OCD and extreme piousness has transmogrified into a huge embossed hardback with a bound bookmark, an introduction by Art Spiegelman and 13 pages of afterword by the artist himself, who is feeling much better now.

Notorious at the time for its squirm-inducing personal revelations (it popularised the confessional autobiographical comic genre, as well as influencing Spiegelman to write Maus) and, erm, scalding penis rays, Binky Brown has been republished here from the original artwork as revealingly (and expensively) as possible. Each page of black-and-white artwork is in colour, which exposes dabs of correction fluid, pencil lines and pasted ziptone, everything cartoonists usually go to some lengths to conceal.

It’s way over the top for such a stark, honest and grubby story, although the Afterword contains a lengthy but interesting analysis by Green of his own work, asserting that such a low-budget project was only possible before the US counterculture was ruined by rising rents.

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