I’m a Jewish comic-loving woman myself, so when my email inbox turned up “Graphic Confessions of Jewish Women,” from the Forward, I was intrigued. This article hit home in more than one way for me.
Michael Kaminer talks to several young, Jewish women who are creating autobiographical comics described as “raw and revealing.” Like Jewish comedians, these women couple self-awareness with a lack of shame and a willingness to discuss anything. But unlike current comedy darling Sarah Silverman, they appear to actually be willing to examine their own hearts and minds with microscopic vision.
More precisely, says Paul Buhle, author of “Jews and American Comics,” “there’s a Jewish self-identification in these artists’ sense of humor, their unashamed discussion of personal lives, their dealings with angst and unhappiness through a pop-culture art form.” Like Robbins, Buhle connects artists like Davis, Schrag, and Gross to the 1970s underground, “when extremely talented young women did comics about themselves and their lives in ways more frank, shocking, and vulgar than any artist could have been outside of Tijuana bibles.”
I’ve been accused of being a bit too much for most people myself. I’m familiar with the need to spill onto the page, with that feeling that it doesn’t matter what I have to say as long as I say it. The Facebook generation is particularly used to confessional stories, as the article points out.
Still, not just any story will draw an audience, and even more so when it comes to comics. Along with a willingness to bare your soul, you’ve got to have an eye for the visuals to tell a good graphic story, and it appears that these women have that as well.