on November 8, 2013
When this book came out in 2009, my girlfriend at the time asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and being in a bookstore at the time, I pointed out this book to her. At the time I had been reading through Julia Wertz's "The Fart Party" web comic, and so had been anticipating this book's release for several months. The girlfriend never actually got me the book though, so I had to actually buy it my self and give her the receipt for which she reimbursed me. With that kind of romance I was amazed when the relationship crumbled apart a few months later. Anyway...
"I Saw You..." is put together by Julia Wertz who, as mentioned, writes an autobiographic comic called the Fart Party. This collection of comics from many different artists reflects much of the humor and angst found Wertz's own work, which isn't a bad thing in itself, but it makes for a bit of a roller coaster when reading. I often find my self laughing at one story with the next leaving me with a sort of melancholic "...oh." feeling. All the comics presumably come from actual posts from Craigslist's Missed Connections sections which range from creepy stalkers in gym locker rooms to lonely people pining for lost loves to people looking to connect with a stranger they happened to meet. If you've never checked out the Craigslist Missed Connections section, you can still enjoy this collection. In fact it might be a safer introduction to the Missed Connection concept than the actual site. I don't know about your town, but in my neck of the woods, most of the missed connections can be kinda sick.
With the comics coming from as many authors and spanning as many subjects as they do (love, lust, anger, lonely people, creepy people) the volume can be hit or miss, particularly depending on your mood at the time. Still, I've yet to find an anthology of any kind that does not have its share of misfires, but for the most part, "I Saw You..." is well edited. Some of the featured artists are more adept at adapting the material than others. Some choose to take some artistic licence with their adaptations of these Craigslist posts, while others choose to seemingly adhere strictly to the original source for their script. Both approaches, in the right hands, prove to work effectively here. However, for whatever reason, some of the comics fall flat. Perhaps its a good artist working with sub standard material, or failure of that particular artist to convert the material into a strong comic. The art ranges from the highly detailed to looser, doodled styles. The quality of the comics doesn't always correlate to quality of the art work, but regardless it seems that some of the artists put greater effort into their adaptations than others. At its best "I Saw You..." can be darkly comedic and even hauntingly poignant at times. Many of the comics speak to parts of us we don't always like to acknowledge and can remind us of our own regrets and failings. At times the works presented show us the uglier, seamier side of our humanity. At its worst though, the comics in "I Saw You..." are forgettable and banal, but most of the work will provide some sort of entertainment value.
Wertz has put together a volume that, while not perfect, shows her skill as an editor, compiling and guiding the readers through over 100 stories from authors that, while all indie comic artists, can be as different as day and night in style and presentation. "I Saw You...", like the Craigslist personals the book is culled from, feeds that voyeuristic tendency many of us exhibit. This isn't a collection that makes me want to read straight through cover to cover, but rather one I enjoy reading piecemeal, skipping to sections that speak to what I am feeling at the time. The stories are short; you can knock a few out while waiting for a bus or during a break at work. That concise nature proves powerful, as these vignettes offer quick punches of emotion, but they leave so many unanswered questions. That ambiguity is what makes Missed Connections, and "I Saw You..." so captivating as it leaves the reader wondering about their own "what ifs".
I ended up buying this book after having read most of Wertz' other work. I knew that this book was compiling work from several authors, so I knew that the artwork & storytelling abilities would differ from person to person. For the most part this is actually a pretty good book.
The listings in this are pulled from craigslist as well as other venues, but seems to be predominantly craigslist. The stories run from funny to sad to downright tragic. We see possible reactions to these listings running from the embarrassing to the joyous. Some of the more memorable strips (to me anyway) had to have been the librarian strip as well as the "cute girl in the diner" mixup.
The artwork in here ranges from the cutesy to the elaborate to the surreal. Sorry I'm not more descriptive, but you'll find all types in this book. For this reason there might be some readers who will adore one style, only to be turned off by another. The overall impression I had of this book was favorable. It's a nice cute read that's perfect for picking up & flipping through at random. I'm sure you'll find your favorite but overall most of the excerpts were gems.
on August 23, 2010
As I have stated on the title, I bought this book to read on my iPad, and trying to read a graphic novel purchased from Kindle bookstore on iPad is a bit disappointing. More on that later.
The book itself is an anthology of different short stories based upon the "Missed Connections" section on craigslist. I am not a craigslist junkie myself and did not know such section existed, but I'm pretty sure everybody has a story of encountering a stranger somewhere some time ago without knowing anything about that person, only to think back and wishing they got to know that person better. "I Saw You:..." is exactly about these kind of stories, and while some stories are really interesting, some are quite mundane, and some are just creepy- just the kind of stuff you'd expect from craigslist anyway.
As it is an anthology, there is no single author, instead it's a collaboration between various graphic novelists all showcasing their talent, and there are some talented artists/storytellers here, while some simply doodle along- when the artwork is great and the storytelling augments an already intriguing story, that's great, but when someone scribbles along a story worthy of drawing on a napkin, it can be quite frustrating.
All in all, your mileage may vary- I thought it was interesting stuff, quite good actually, but hardly memorable book. I think the subject matter itself is more fascinating than anything.
And for the iPad experience- since I do not own a Kindle, I am guessing the other reviews posted on this page stems from positive reading experiences, while the iPad version does not fare well. With its beautiful color screen, you'd imagine that reading graphic novels on the iPad would be a great experience- nope. While I can understand Amazon focuses on the Kindle readership, I wish they would work a bit harder on delivering on different markets, no matter how big or small they may be. Graphic novels on iPad via the Kindle app shows each page as a single image that can be zoomed in when touched, but the image quality is not great- some of the texts from the book is quite small or handwritten, which makes zooming in an absolute necessity, but due to the crappy image, it is very hard to make out the small letters.
Overall, the book itself is about three and a half stars, but due to the bad transition from Kindle to iPad, I'm taking off half a star. With Apple's iBook store low on graphic novel stock, I try to do the right thing and purchase my books instead of illegally downloading them, but it sucks paying 9 bucks and not able to read some of the lines! Hope this issue gets fixed soon.