Sunday, December 14, 2008

What I want for christmas.....

Please, somebody get me this!

New York Times review.....

Another artist in the confessional tradition is David Heatley, whose first book, “My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down,” seems to encompass every uncomfortable thought he’s ever had about sexuality, race and his family.

The section “Sex History” is just what it says it is: Heatley’s nearly complete sexual history, from childhood games onward, documented in more than 700 tiny, doodly, wobbly-lined panels (although he draws a discreet veil over his relationship with his wife). It’s riveting for prurient reasons, of course, but also for its apparently comprehensive honesty: he’s perfectly willing to come off as a callow jerk.

“Black History,” a much longer application of the same technique to his relationships with every black person he’s ever known, is a little more coy — he tries to make his internalized racism shrivel up by exposing it to harsh sunlight, but he’s also trying to reassure us that he’s down. (Padding the story with hand written commentary on his favorite hip-hop records was probably a bad idea.)

But the final third of the book, devoted to his family tree, centers on a beautifully unsettling mosaic of comic-strip jokes that seem to be at his parents’ expense but inevitably end up ridiculing his own dealings with them. The book culminates in a lengthy piece about the birth of his children in the context of the generations before theirs: Heatley isn’t the only one, he knows, who’s ever heard a woman gasping and a newborn crying.

No comments: