Eye of the Majestic Creature by Leslie Stein

Eye of the Majestic Creature
by Leslie Stein
Fantagraphics, 2011

Like Fart Party’s Julie Wentz, in real life Stein looks nothing like her avatar character, Larrybear, who lives in an isolated house in the country with her best friend Marshmallow, an unreliable acoustic guitar who takes far too many drugs. It’s a semi-autobiographical comic. The excellent artwork is loopy and original, influenced by Foxtrot and Peter Bagge, although his characters are usually contorted in fits of rage, not glee at being given an ’80s dancing flower.

This large-format collection of her self-published comic begins whimsically, but becomes more grounded in reality by issue 4 (as the drugs wear off), eventually settling as a loose re-telling of Stein’s life in Brooklyn, with typically crappy jobs, family drama (a dinner with her father, his second ex-wife and his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend doesn’t go well) and Marshmallow confined to the apartment, although he still breaks out with Mimolette the finger piano to get Skittles.

For a semi-autobiographical comic it’s refreshingly interested in the world outside the main character’s head, with space devoted to her family, bohemian friends, even anecdotes from her workmates. Also, it’s very neatly hand-lettered, which is unusual nowadays.

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