Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
When I'm Old And Other Stories Paperback – April 14, 2003
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
These stories originally appeared in "mini-comix"--photocopied pamphlets self-published with total disregard for their commercial viability. Bell takes full advantage of the opportunity self-publication affords for unfettered creativity, and it is exciting to watch her emerging talent tackle all sorts of subject matter, from the autobiographical (a staple of alternative comics) to the fantastic in stories about turning into a 50-foot woman or, in the title story, becoming an eccentric old crone to adaptations of short stories by Hermann Hesse and D. H. Lawrence to the book's centerpiece, a chronicle of a young woman's descent into madness a la Roman Polanski's film Repulsion. Meanwhile, the tone veers from serious goofiness (turning into a giant doesn't keep Bell from showing up for her waitressing shift) to premature angst, as when she bemoans the loss--in her twenties!--of her youthful genius. Her naive drawing style may turn off comics readers used to a slicker, more conventional approach, but it perfectly suits her youthful candor. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Gabrielle Bell was born in England and raised in California. In 1998 She began to collect her Book of miniseries (Book of Sleep, Book of Insomnia, Book of Black, etc), which resulted in When I m Old and Other Stories, published by Alternative Comics. In 2001 she moved to New York and released her autobiographical series Lucky, published by Drawn and Quarterly. Her work has been selected for the 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011 Best American Comics and the Yale Anthology of Graphic Fiction, and she has contributed to McSweeneys, Bookforum, The Believer, and Vice Magazine. The title story of Bell s book, Cecil and Jordan in New York has been adapted for the film anthology Tokyo! by Michel Gondry. Her latest book, The Voyeurs, is available from Uncivilized Books. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I appreciate that Bell is able to write both fiction and autobiographical comics. Her autobiographix have a sense of poignancy - they have weight. They are neither meandering, slice-of-life wanks, nor are they drug and/or sex filled escapades. They are full of those emotions and circumstances that life consists of that give it some kind of meaning, even tho we can't always grasp what that meaning is.
This collection is mostly fiction, and tho the stories are short, they are well crafted. So few American alternative cartoonists are able to tell any kind of story - fiction or non-fiction - with a clear beginning, middle and end, a climax, a denouement, and a strong theme. That's why Bell's autobiographix resonant with me so much, because they are obviously crafted, rather than some cartoonist's just spewing a personal story. She never uses "non-linear" writing to simply cover for a lack of writing ability either.
There's no intro in WHEN I'M OLD..., but I assume it is a collection of Bell's early minicomics. I can see her searching for an illustrative style - she experiments in these stories, however, even tho she is experimenting, you can see that Bell is skilled, and her experiments are interesting to witness. In some stories, she uses a great deal of cross hatching, and detailed rendering. In others, she uses more of the contrast look that she uses in her MOME stories. Bell is a master at using spotted blacks, and you can see that develop in this collection.
I like the style of the art in the title story, and that story is one of my favorites, even tho it is very simple. Bell puts a great deal of work into each panel, employing lots of crass hatching. She makes effective use of camera angles and different techniques, like silhouette, which I wish more alternative cartoonists, would do. "Amy Was A Babysitter" touched my heart. Bell skillfully weaves plot and theme to create a beautiful story about how the weight of life is in the way we touch those around us, just by doing what we do best, rather than in trying to live larger than life.
The illustration in "Just One Reason Part 1" is fairly primitive, compared to the other work in the collection, but in part two the art is excellent, especially the scene where the main character, Kate, goes mad. I enjoyed the story; even tho it is quite violent - but the violence is built into a plot that is driven by suspense and conflict, circumstances build one on another, until the climatic violent acts. The violence comes out of a very believable set of actions, that drive an unbalanced mind to do horrible things. I wish more cartoonists would find ways to justify the random violence in their strips, rather than using it to cover a lack of writing imagination. Bell never does that.
The facial expressions in "Gabrielle Picker-Packer" really made that story work for me. Bell has an ability, with minimal use of line, and with great subtlety, to create a depth of expression. I love the emotional expressiveness overall in Bell's work - too many realistic cartoonists lack emotion in their stories, and in their characters facial expressions - it is still a comic, after all, and it is important that we, the reader, are able to read the faces, and are drawn into a story. I really enjoyed the art and story of "Jet Lag" as well, an autobiographical work that is searching and poignant. Bell takes a trip to London to visit her bohemian grandmother, and like a play, the plot is driven by family tensions, which Bell can't manage due to her jet lag. Her fatigue drives the story, until ghosts from the past break thru, and family trauma from long ago is revealed in an emotional scene that has been building since the beginning of the story.
There is a thru line strip called "Arm Trophy" that is just hilarious. Bell shows she has an ability to write comedy as well as drama.
The book is a high quality print, on a heavy bond paper, that is an off white, that serves the content well. I wish there had been an introduction, tho, by either Bell, or someone familiar with her work. It would have been nice to hear some back-story on Bell's process in creating these comics, and what her thinking was behind the shifts in style. I think Bell is one of the best writers in alternative comics today, and even tho this collection is early work, it is well worth the read. I couldn't put it down, and look forward to reading more of her collections.