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Mirror, Window (An Artbabe Collection) Paperback – September 4, 1996

4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Since she began making underground mini-comics in Chicago in the early 1990s, Abel (Artbabe) has developed into a wonderfully literate comics storyteller and a skilled draftsperson. This collection of her most recent Artbabe stories captures Abel at her best, presenting the emotional texture of the lives of the young and unfocused. She's a literary cartoonist, chronicling a free-floating crowd of young, hip, pleasure-seeking barhoppers who also double as art students, wannabe writers, rock musicians and low-wage clerical workers. Whatever Abel's characters may lack in experience beyond college is made up for by the thoughtful presentation of their relationships, friendships and unfortunate one-night stands. Abel's young female characters project both a sense of unfettered social audacity as well as a capacity for neurotic self-absorption, a fictional profile of Abel's own go-getting post-feminist generation. In "Chƒin‚," she explores the deep friendship between Paloma, a reflective and fretful dancer on the downside of her career, and Nina, a cheerful and unflappable party girl, and their efforts to reconcile the contrasting demands of their lives. "Goddamn Hollywood" presents two women friends awkwardly and disastrously interested in the same dubious guy. Abel's black and white drawings are as assured, sensitively rendered and delightfully personal as her prose. The book also collects several short comic and nonfiction narratives.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Abel has staked out narrow but rich territory for her insightful stories. They are all about twentysomething urbanites at pivotal moments in their lives. Slices of life, they are set in bars, bedrooms, and office cubicles. Their characters' jobs take a backseat to their relationships, though both are hassle-prone and unfulfilling. It would be a disservice to Abel and her subjects, however, to label them "Gen-Xers" or "slackers." Abel brings each character to life as an individual, from the ballerina Paloma, who fears she is over-the-hill at 22, to wanna-be writer Jamal, on the brink of an ill-advised move to New York. Abel's illustrative skills aren't on the same level as her storytelling talent, and it is hard not to think she is more a short-story writer than a cartoonist. Yet her strips play to her strengths--strong characterization, accurate dialogue, and a knack for capturing a distinctive milieu. The end of each story leaves you wishing you could find out what happens next. Abel is a graphic storytelling talent to watch. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (September 4, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560973846
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560973843
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 7.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #932,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cartoonist and writer Jessica Abel is the author of the graphic novel La Perdida (winner of the the 2002 "Best New Series" Harvey Award) as well as two collections of stories from her omnibus comic book Artbabe. She and her husband, the cartoonist Matt Madden, were series editors for The Best American Comics from 2007 to 2013 and teach at various institutions. Together they've authored two textbooks about making comics, Drawing Words & Writing Pictures and Mastering Comics. Jessica collaborated with Ira Glass on Radio: An Illustrated Guide, a non-fiction comic about how the radio show This American Life is made. Her new book (and podcast), Out on the Wire, is about how the best radio producers in the world use story to keep us listening.

Jessica lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and their two children, but is currently on a residency at the Maison des Auteurs in Angoulême, France. Her latest science fiction comics series, Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars debuted in January 2015.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jacob G Corbin on June 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
I'm not normally a huge fan of the indie/hipster autobiographical comix scene - too often the stories told consist of nothing but roman a clef in-jokes and angsty twentysomething whining - but Abel manages to transcend the form in high style thanks to her natural storytelling abilities, ear for dialogue, and clear, attractive draughtsmanship.
The stories are short, clearly told, and deceptively simple - perfect for digesting during a lazy lunch hour. However, they prove meatier than you might think, lingering and coming back unbidden into the mind's eye for days after the last page has been turned.
The book itself is possessed of superior production values - it's big, eye-catching, and printed on thick, creamy paper; the kind of gorgeous art object you'll find yourself wanting to strategically lay around your apartment to impress visitors. But this, of course, is merely the icing on the cake - MIRROR, WINDOW is of sufficient quality that it'd be would be worth buying if it were printed on perforated toilet paper.
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By TBo on January 26, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an interesting trip through the lives of singles who hit and miss in their attempts at connecting. I like the way the author shows how one's social network is a big part of the dating process. The characters are developed nicely so that one gets to know them.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jacob G Corbin on June 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
I'm not normally a huge fan of the indie/hipster autobiographical comix scene - too often the stories told consist of nothing but roman a clef in-jokes and angsty twentysomething whining - but Abel manages to transcend the form in high style thanks to her natural storytelling abilities, ear for dialogue, and clear, attractive draughtsmanship.
The stories are short, clearly told, and deceptively simple - perfect for digesting during a lazy lunch hour. However, they prove meatier than you might think, lingering and coming back unbidden into the mind's eye for days after the last page has been turned.
The book itself is possessed of superior production values - it's big, eye-catching, and printed on thick, creamy paper; the kind of gorgeous art object you'll find yourself wanting to strategically lay around your apartment to impress visitors. But this, of course, is merely the icing on the cake - MIRROR, WINDOW is of sufficient quality that it'd be worth buying if it were printed on perforated toilet paper.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cathy on February 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
Abel's short-story comics in Mirror, Window are well drawn and artfully presented. However, the art can not make up for the superficiality of the stories. Though each story has an interesting premise, not one struck a chord with me or ended up having anything interesting to say. Each plotline endeavors to be romantically depressing but lacks the depth to engage the reader's feelings.

This book might be fun to look at, but it is not very fun to read.
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