Saturday, April 04, 2009

Cecil and Jordan In New York: Stories

Gabrielle Bell
I'm not too big into anthologies just because the comics within are so hit and miss for me, but I've heard plenty of good things about artist Gabrielle Bell from people. When I heard that this hardcover collection of comics was coming out from Bell, it caught my attention and I decided to give it a look. Cecil and Jordan In New York: Stories collects various short works from Bell out of various anthologies over the past five years like MOME and Kramer's Ergot. The story that the book is named after follows a woman who eventually turns herself into a chair as not to be a nuisance to those around her, becoming happy to be such a useful object. The eleven stories included in this book are a mixture of fiction and semi-autobiographical works, that follow young people. "Cecil and Jordan In New York" includes one of the few uses of fantasy in the collection - most stories are very realistic, although there are a few other instances of the fantastic. My favorite story overall was a longer one called "Felix," where an artist whose received some harsh criticism is hired by a famous sculptor to teach his son how to draw. There's a lot of interesting stuff going on here between the three characters, especially considering their roles in the story. Overall, this is a very consistent book. There aren't any stories that don't really work, or seem out of place alongside the others. From beginning to end, it's very entertaining and at its best, strikes a chord with the reader or introduces a fresh idea.

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