I first discovered Julia Gfrörer’s work at APE a few years back. Her comics booklet, Flesh and Bone, just popped out at me amongst the piles of zines/comics at the Sparkplug Books table. Her finely detailed, and delicate line work, and her uninhibited, raw storytelling really blew my socks off. I recently sat down, and read two new zines by Julia, Black Light SPX 2013 edition, and In Pace Requiescat Comics Arts Brooklyn 2013 edition(co-authored by Sean T. Collins).
Black Light consists of four stories, two of which have been published elsewhere previously. My favorite story of this collection would have to be Unclean, a tale of a young woman looking to rebound from a fresh asshole ex-boyfriend wound, so after her group of friends egg her on, she decides to let the older bartender take her up to his apartment. I like the way that Julia Gfrörer depicts these seemingly mundane characters, and how she makes their sexual encounters feel like some kind of surreal National Geographic documentary on human intercourse. There’s a subtle quality to Julia’s stories, but in a very good, effective way. You feel like a fly on the wall in somebody’s bad dream. Not to put such a negative spin on it, but her stories do feel very dark, and depressing to me. I like that.
The other zine, In Pace Requiescat, had something to do with an old Edgar Allen Poe tale. According to Julia’s website,” Writer Sean T. Collins and artist Julia Gfrörer have extrapolated an excruciatingly pornographic minicomic from “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe.” OK, fair enough. I guess I need to brush up on my Poe to fully appreciate this “glory brick hole” tale. It goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyways, that Julia Gfrörer’s comics are for adults, and this one is no exception. I would say that this was also very good, but I’d go with Black Light over this one, if you’re new to her work. You get more bang for your buck, so to speak, story-wise, and page count-wise.
You may purchase both of these zines at Julia Gfrörer’s Etsy store, plus other goodies.
Fantagraphics just published Julia Gfrörer’s new book, Black is the Color, and you can find it here.