Drinking at the Movies Paperback – 31 Aug 2010
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"This modern-day classic of a graphic memoir has been beautifully reissued by Koyama Press, and from the moment you read the wonderfully wacky forward by Janeane Garofalo, you know you're in for a treat." -- Swapna Krishna, Panels "The Wertz that stands outside the pages and fashions the panels of her life as captured in comics is trying to work things out, and she is letting us in on her journey." -- John Seven, Comics Beat "Wertz's childish faces and frames are deceptively simple. She has plenty to say, and does. Often silly and irreverent, (her first published comic strip was called Fart Party), Wertz is serious, too, in addressing her drinking, her autoimmune disease, and her fears for the wayward brother she left behind in San Francisco." -- Annie Bostrom, Booklist "Wertz is one of the finest autobiographical comic artists." -- Pete Redrup, The Quietus "[Wertz is] fun to hang out with, and Drinking at the Movies provides maybe the most perfect way to do so: You can enjoy her company, but with the safety that the distance of reading a comic book echo of the real experiences can provide." -- J. Caleb Mozzocco, ComicsAlliance "The ups and downs of Gen Y/Millennial life, the awful jobs, the bad dates, the poor life choices...no one has covered as sharply and as Wertz." -- Heidi MacDonald, The Comics Beat "Charming...bold yet subtle...Subtly subverts the expectations of the memoir even as [Wertz's] drawing style -- blocky, simple, with a deceptive lack of polish -- speaks to the rough-hewn intimacy of the form...She is laceratingly self-revealing, exposing her failings with a glee that borders on the perverse...What Wertz is tracing is the difficulty of knowing how to live...Title to the contrary, this is not really a book about alcohol. Rather, it's about her development, her transition into adulthood ("Well, sort of"), which Wertz reveals with acuity and grace...A quiet triumph, a portrait of the artist in the act of becoming, a story with heart and soul." -- David Ulin, Los Angeles Times "Wertz's first full-length graphic novel captures everything that is the glorious twenties--that is if you're a broke comic artist who's struggling to pay rent and keep your head afloat above the fray that is life in New York City. Wertz capably--and more importantly, believably--gets to the nitty gritty of post-collegiate life." -- Kirkus Reviews "Delightful." -- Time Out New York --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Julia Wertz was born in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1982 and currently lives in Brooklyn. She is the author of the autobiographic comic books The Fart Party Vols. 1 and 2 (Atomic Books, 2007, 2009) both volumes were collected as Museum of Mistakes in 2014, Drinking at the Movies (Random House, 2010) and The Infinite Wait and Other Stories (Koyama Press, 2012). --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
While there are several stories of persons moving to the big city, it's not so much the story as it is the reactions of the characters or the main character in the story that make it stand out. "Drinking at the Movies" works as a great comic book read because Julia Wertz is such a pleasant, funny, and original person to tell that story.
It might be coloured by the fact that I too am in my 20s and have gone through a lot of what Wertz went through, but while there's a lot of things anyone who grows up in their 20s in a big city can relate to, Wertz's humour colours the experience from an alien, disturbing one to a charming and humour filled catalogue of short stories.
Wertz herself is very open about the kind of person she is - awkward, uninterested in "girly" things, likes to be alone, likes junk food and alcohol far too much, is unconcerned with relationships, and has an aversion to work in favour of the kind of whimsy and freedom being an artist brings (and the near poverty standard of living as well). I found myself thinking of the kind of cool, cute girls I knew in high school who never felt beautiful even though they were or confident in themselves or their abilities, and thinking Wertz must have been one of them, and that this book is testament to those qualities.
In terms of art style it's quite simple with panels used, and it reminded me of Jeffrey Brown's drawing style, and the diary format along with the exuberance of life was reminiscent of James Kochalka's "American Elf" comic.Read more ›
I'm late to the graphic novel party by several years. Having been a comic book fan as a boy and primarily of the superhero stripe, with the exception of The Archies and the Sunday morning comic strips. I left when comic books turned .40 an issue!
To my surprise, comics have changed. I had no idea how much so until I took a part-time job at a bookstore about 12 years ago or so. In content and illustration, comics and "graphic novels," broadly speaking, is geared to the more mature reader. I quickly realized there's an audience for every conceivable story. It's a beast.
DRINKING AT THE MOVIES is the first graphic novel I've read from Julia Wertz. Wertz' humor strikes me a cross between "Cathy" and "Doonesbury"--a self-critical (and at times, self-pitying college-graduate) who struggles with work, self-image, men, food, the very occasional drink, roommates and ungrateful bosses. Episodes are at times, critiques of the people in her life, near and far, the social dynamics of her environment and of politicians.
But, the real magic of this book may lie in its simplicity. Simple, flat one-dimensional cartoon style contrasted by biting, cynicism. Don't let the childlike illustrations fool you, after the first few moments of dialogue, you grow accustomed to the characters. Wertz write... rather, creates with wisdom, foresight and huge doses of unvarnished humor. This is not a woman who's given over to false pretenses about herself, she discusses personal and familial issues with such blunt candor that the prudish amongst us would most certainly gasp. With the pompous idea of "what" and "how" a woman (of distinction) should communicate discarded, what is left is often irony and irony in its most understandable state.
I love this work.Read more ›
However, I don't think this is enough, in itself, to make a work of art and for me Drinking at the Movies is ultimately a well-meaning failure. By the end of the book Julia's musings had started to feel repetitive and shallow, specifically I think because of the decision not to reconstruct the parts of her life she uses for her art around a plot. There is a tendency, I think, in 'indie' comics to worry that narrative is dishonest - that it puts a barrier between writer and reader. This is in some ways true, I guess, but ignores the obvious and abundant virtues of storytelling as an aid to the reader, and that artifice can, of course, reveal as much as it obscures. It also puts a great deal of pressure on the mere vision of the artist, and I'm afraid that for all of her virtues, Wertz does not yet have sufficient insight or simple artistic skill to make a plotless book compelling or important.
I will continue to buy Julia's books - I have no doubt I'll continue to like the her of her comics, continue to enjoy what she does, and will always remain hopeful that one day she'll produce something a whole lot better.