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Scheherazade: Comics About Love, Treachery, Mothers, and Monstersby Megan Kelso
Synopses & Reviews
For years Megan Kelso wanted to edit an anthology of female cartoonists, but didn't know what would tie it together. A few years ago, she noticed an explosion of younger female cartoonists who were really ambitious and promising, and got this idea to work with them as a very active, hands-on editor, which is all too rare in comics. In Queen Scheherazade of the 1001 Nights, Kelso has found a role model: the archetypal (female) storyteller, cheating death by enthralling her royal captor with new installments of a vast, interconnected story. Like her stories, the tales in this book take on broad human concerns: love, life, death, money, food, shit and treachery, mothers and monsters. (A framing story by Ariel Bordeaux will bookend the collection and thread between all the other stories, which range from 5 to 14 pages each.) But the fact that they are all women is secondary to their promise as important contributors to a new era in the medium of comics, one marked by their energy, their potential, and their ferocity. Further uniting this group is their belief in the story. Scheherazade is a celebration of narrative, the simple, human joy of spinning yarns.
"For this anthology, Kelso has assembled an all-star lineup of women cartoonists — almost all under 35 years old — and given them the mandate to show what they can do. The result is a dizzying variety of work, most of it impressive and some superb. Andrice Arp takes on the 'Scheherazade' theme most literally, adapting a tale from The 1001 Nights that nests stories within stories, and reflecting its structure in her page compositions. Ariel Bordeaux contributes a wordless story whose panels appear between everyone else's pieces. Some of the stories are solemn, like Leela Corman's 'Fanya Needs to Know,' a chapter from her graphic novel-in-progress about an abortionist in early 20th-century Jewish New York; others are cute and whimsical, like Sara Varon's adorable untitled piece about a dog that builds a robot. There are cartoonists who draw on fine art (e.g., Vanessa Davis, whose 'I Wonder Where the Yellow Went' is a series of her fluid autobiographical sketches) and on prose literature (e.g., Gabrielle Bell, who adapts a Kate Chopin story as 'One Afternoon'). Kelso's own contribution, 'The Pickle Fork,' is one of the book's highlights, a dark but loopy narrative, drawn with clean-lined elegance, about a museum of silverware and the people who have to polish it. This notable anthology could launch more than a few careers. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Kelso negotiates a tension between the spoken and the unspoken — the communicated and the uncommunicable — that seems to lie at the heart of her interests." Bart Beaty, The Comics Journal
"Megan Kelso's [comics] are smart, smart, smart. [Her artwork] is stately and deliberate, but also conveys a sense of urgency." Marjorie Ingall, Ms.
Energy, ferocity, and a dazzling variety of drawing styles unite and light up the pages of this new anthology, which uses the yarn-spinning skills of Queen Scheherazade as inspiration for unraveling its own stories. Showcasing the work of 23 of the most interesting female graphic novelists working today, both well-loved veterans and new and emerging artists, this collection appeals to devotees of both comics and graphic novels, not to mention those enjoying the third wave of feminism. Contributors include Jennifer Daydreamer, Ellen Forney, Lark Pien, Ariel Shrag, Kelley Seda, and Sara Varon. Framing the book at both ends and threading in between each tale is a story by Ariel Bordeaux, creator of the comics Deep Girl and No Love Lost. The cover is by riot girl Nikki McClure, known for scratching her graphics with an Exacto knife. Not since Twisted Sisters: A Collection of Bad Girl Art has there been an anthology with more female velocity.
Showcasing the work of 23 of the most interesting female graphic novelists working today, this collection uses the yarn-spinning skills of Queen Scheherazade as inspiration for this volume full of female velocity.
About the Author
Megan Kelso was born in Seattle, Washington. She attended the Evergreen State College between 1988 and 1991 where she began drawing comics. In 1993, she was the first woman to win the Xeric Grant, a cash award to self-publishing cartoonists. She self-published six issues of the comicbook Girlhero and in 1998 Highwater Books collected stories from those comics in the book Queen of the Black Black. She is currently serializing a graphic novel called Artichoke Tales, for which she won two Ignatz Awards at the Small Press Expo in 2003.
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