Jun 19, 2013
This week the Two Guys with PhDs review Gabrielle Bell’s latest book, The Voyeurs (Uncivilized Books), as well as two self-published comics from Becky Cloonan, The Mire and Demeter. This is the perfect episode to follow last week’s roundtable on the mainstream-indie comics divide, in that the work of both Bell and Cloonan exemplify many of the points raised in that discussion. First, Andy and Derek do an in-depth reading of The Voyeurs, placing it within the larger context of Bell’s body of work. They emphasize the semi-autobiographic nature of the book, while at the same time pointing out how much of The Voyeurs is more ambitious than her earlier comics, combining many of the best features found in her Lucky series (collected in 2003) and the more fictional Cecil and Jordan in New York (2008). The guys then move on to Becky Cloonan’s recent self-published comics, The Mire (a 2013 Eisner Award nominee) and Demeter. After briefly discussing some of Cloonan’s mainstream work, such as American Virgin (with Steven T. Seagle, 2006-2008) and Demo (with Brian Wood, 2003 and 2010), Andy and Derek move quickly into the independently published comics, highlighting many of the features that set these titles apart from her mainstream work. They specifically focus on the poetic quality of both The Mire and Demeter, seeing these comics as sophisticated and almost elusive narratives that challenge the reader in significant ways.