Fantagraphics. Oct. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9781683964698. $29.99. GRAPHIC NOVELS
Tacchia’s keenly observed collection of nearly 200 one-panel comics explores the inner lives of modern women with scabrous wit and deep insight. Instead of running captions below each illustration, she arranges images and text on facing pages. The layout encourages readers to consider the elements separately, often heightening the humor or creating interesting juxtapositions that feel deeply interior and insightful; see for example the heavily erotic image with the caption “When he asks which movie you wanted to watch.” Elsewhere, Tacchia’s cartooning is so evocative that captions feel unnecessary, as in the opening drawing of two women with crossed arms and narrowed eyes. It radiates a sense of mischievous conspiracy so powerfully that the caption (“When you’re both up to no good”) might well pop into readers’ minds even before they have a chance to read it on the facing page. Topics include friendship, romance, dwelling on things, adoration unencumbered by reason, and more.
VERDICT Tacchia’s deceptively simple cartoonish portraits convey nuanced emotions through gesture, facial expressions, and color and combine with her biting wit to create an emotionally resonant, often hysterically funny debut.
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