Popular West Coast Cartoonist Ellen Forney Talks Graphic Memoirs with East Coast Cartoonist Julia Wertz

Monday November 19: 7:00PM 8:00PM

Two of this country’s most compelling female cartoonists, Ellen Forney and Julia Wertz, discuss their new graphic memoirs. Forney's book, Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michaelangelo, and Me, and Wertz' The Infinite Wait & Other Stories are both really funny (that is, darkly funny), genuine tales of being young and faced with disease - both psychological and physical. They'll talk about the different experiences of bipolar disorder, autoimmune disease and alcoholism, and will do so with the sharp, entertaining personalities that make their comics such a pleasure to read.

Buy a copy of either one of the featured books or a $10 Strand gift card at the registers or the door in order to attend this event. All options admit one person. The event will be located in the Strand's 3rd floor Rare Book Room at our store at 828 Broadway at 12th Street.

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Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoirby Ellen Forney and The Infinite Wait and Other Stories by Julia Wertz

Kate G.

Marbles and The Infinite Wait are terribly entertaining graphic memoirs, both of which have "disease" as their subject. The obvious response to this is: Oh boy, that sounds really depressing. But thankfully these ladies are really good at what they do, and after reading both within a couple of weeks (having read only maybe three other graphic novels in my life), I may have been converted to comic-reading.

To summarize quickly: Ellen Forney's book is about having bipolar disorder, being an artist, trying to figure out the relationship between mental illness and art, and coming to terms with the questionable and frightening effects of mental health!

Julia Wertz's book is about growing up as a misanthropic young thing, with a delightfully brassy attitude, and then discovering that she has an incurable autoimmune disease - while also coming to that point where one finally has to acknowledge "alcoholism" - and then while being sick for a while, suddenly discovering that comics are a real adult thing that people do as a profession! and then spending all of her time drawing.

So why are these books that you'll actually want to read? Why shouldn't you assume they're pointless works of confession that only exist because the authors want to talk about themselves?

Well, I think both books are perfectly satisfying for one of the basic reasons that people read (at least I think it's basic…) - for those times when you both do - and don't - want to interact with other people. This is a trite way of saying what ends up being a huge drive behind the book (and television and film) experience. But books like these are precisely the answer! because first of all they're really simply entertaining - just like the best people are - and they're true stories, so you don't get anything outlandish. You get the sort of realistic, well-told backstories from a person's life that you get while, say, drinking and talking with buddies you might not know too well, but who make you laugh a lot. The unpretentious backstories that make up most of what we use to figure out ourselves and other people and how we all deal with things differently.

So I liked them a lot. And you should come to our 11/19/12 event with both of these authors, simply because it will be great.