Page 45 Review by Jonathan
"... And then I ran away, crying, and I tripped, and kind of tumbled down the mountain aways!"
"I swear, Vanessa. You tell the best stories, no one tells stories like you! You are always in the funniest situations! The craziest things happen to you!"
"Eh, funny stuff happens to everyone. I just remember it more."
"No, I don't forget stuff! I just think you have a cooler life than most people, where more fun things happen!
I genuinely love autobiographical comics with a passion; they are in fact consistently my favourite genre in the entire medium. Biographical works far less so interestingly enough, but that's an aside. So perhaps it's the insight into other peoples' lives, to see exactly what scurrilous details they're prepared to reveal about themselves, or just humiliate themselves in Joe Matt's case, their relationships to friends, family and significant others like in Chester Brown's work, and usually for creators though not always, how they actually approach their own comics, both practically and emotionally, no one capturing this sometime tortuous process more imaginatively and engagingly than Eddie Campbell.
However, however, there is of course one major proviso... it has to be interesting. And this is where I just can't understand the quote above. I really admire Vanessa Davis' pencils and watercolours. She is a fine artist with a very nice style of her own. She does capture moments or conversations very well, conveying the content and emotion present in a situation. It's just that as a whole this work reads like a rather bland diary, a presentation of rather mundane events with very little of interest actually happening to retain the reader's attention. In fact upon finishing it, I couldn't really tell you one significant thing that actually happened to her.
So in that respect this work doesn't really succeed for me, but I am aware that is most definitely a personal opinion, as I imagine fans of John Porcellino's easy-going style of autobiography will probably love this. It's just for me there doesn't seem to be any actual ongoing thread of narrative, unlike say Seth's IT'S A GOOD LIFE IF YOU DON'T WEAKEN, which despite hardly being a thrill-a-minute action-packed read, has a rather gently meandering and intriguing undercurrent of a story that pulls you along with him as he investigates an element of his past. On the other hand if you want to read a truly ridiculous diary narrative packed full of humour, (which is actually fictional but nonetheless utterly completely believably) you should check out UNLOVEABLE vols 1 and 2.