GRAPHIC NOVELS

Drawing Power: Women’s Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival

Comics Arts: Abrams. Sept. 2019. 272p. ed. by ed. by Diane Noomin. ISBN 9781419736193. pap. $29.99. Rated: Mature. anthologies
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More than 60 female cartoonists, representing a range of ages, races, and sexual orientations, reveal their experiences with sexual violence and harassment in this powerful anthology curated and edited by underground comix stalwart Noomin (Glitz-2-Go). In “Mr. Stevenson,” Ebony Flowers (Hot Comb) is shocked when a coworker attempts to force herself upon her. Mary Fleener’s (Life of the Party) unique blend of underground cartooning and cubism brings jittery energy to her story, “Consensual Rape,” in which a bandmate she’d previously slept with blithely admits to raping her while she was passed out. Sarah Allen Reed (Monolith: The Collected Literary Works of Sarah Allen Reed. Vol. 1) evokes an anguished immediacy with her use of thick black lines and black panels that overflow with white text in “Blame,” which reveals how having been raped, treated harshly as a member of the transgender community, and repeatedly harassed by men and women in the comic book industry have resulted in anxiety that her audience might find her culpable for the abuse she’s survived.
VERDICT A stunning collection that viscerally highlights the pervasiveness of sexual violence and the multitude of ways survivors process trauma.

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