Underground Film Journal

Autobiographical Comics


Pumpkin Juice

However, the real winner of the anthology is the final story written and drawn by Chris Peterson. It’s called Peter Pan and it puts a real demonic twist to J.M. Barrie’s classic. Instead of being the hero, Peterson has cast Peter as the villain, a vicious little prick who maintains his youthfulness by kidnapping and eating little boys.

Mercy Seat #1 & 2

Ok, Gord Cummings writes that he was “inspired” by Harvey, but if someone is going to have an autobiographical comic with multiple artists illustrating the writing then the first thing anybody is going to say about it is how it compares to the legendary American Splendor, especially if that person is a lifelong Pekar fan like myself.


From France, we get the critically acclaimed Persepolis series by Marjane Satrapi, which is constantly compared to Art Spiegelman’s Maus (which you’ll see I didn’t do in my review of the books). And now David B.’s immensely well-received Epileptic, which was actually begun in France prior to Persepolis by three or four years.

Persepolis 1 & 2

But the Persepolis books aren’t overtly political, but the politics infect the personal during a time of such great upheaval for Iran. Marjane’s entire childhood is thrown upsidedown when she’s thrust from a relatively free lifestyle to one of religious oppression where she is forced to wear the veil in public and is no longer allowed to socialize with boys at school.

The Quitter

I don’t really know Harvey at all and I was surprised to realize that he has hardly, if ever, written about his childhood. The Quitter remedies that situation, telling the story of Harvey growing up in Cleveland as a young boy in the ’40s to becoming a teenager in the ’50s. Unsurprisingly, given the usual tone of his autobiographical tales, it’s a fairly bleak picture of his childhood: Born to poor Polish immigrants, growing up in rough neighborhoods and having a tough time making friends.

Likewise #1

Like Ariel’s previous work, LIKEWISE is shockingly revealing, although I probably could have done with one less sequence of her taking a piss. But then again, I’m probably not the book’s target audience.

Dori Stories vs. My New York Diary vs. Potential

DORI STORIES collects the entire oeuvre of Dori’s work along with tons of memorial essays by her friends and lovers. I personally fell in love with her (not in love with her work, but in love with HER) when I started buying old WEIRDOs in the early ’90s. I didn’t know anything about her (including the fact that she had been dead for 3 or 4 years), but her comix are all at once frightening, sad, tragic and hilarious all at the same time.