Make Me a Woman by Vanessa Davis

Make Me a Woman
by Vanessa Davis
Drawn & Quarterly, 2010

This is the kind of luxurious large-format hardback compilation New Zealand cartoonists can only dream of, and Davis hasn’t even been on the scene that long. Her work operates in the same confessional personal arena as Lynda Barry, and her loose art style is similar as well, with some neat gutter-free panel layouts and compositions. This is a collection of short (three-page) stories from Tablet magazine and her Spaniel Rage minicomics, interspersed with pencil sketches and some rather good drawings of women dancing.

Although like most diary comics it’s utterly self-obsessed, she’s very honest and there’s a refreshing lack of cartoons about being a cartoonist, although her life isn’t as entertaining to read about as that of Julia Wertz. I might just be finding it hard to relate to the many, many, many issues involved with being an unmarried young Jewish woman (with issues) in New York and California (and her issues, of which there are many).

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