The Comics of Julie Doucet and Gabrielle Bell
A Place inside Yourself
The first edited volume to juxtapose these female alternative comics artists
Winner of the 2020 Comics Studies Society Edited Book Prize
Contributions by Kylie Cardell, Aaron Cometbus, Margaret Galvan, Sarah Hildebrand, Frederik Byrn Køhlert, Tahneer Oksman, Seamus O’Malley, Annie Mok, Dan Nadel, Natalie Pendergast, Sarah Richardson, Jessica Stark, and James Yeh
In a self-reflexive way, Julie Doucet’s and Gabrielle Bell’s comics, though often autobiographical, defy easy categorization. In this volume, editors Tahneer Oksman and Seamus O’Malley regard Doucet’s and Bell’s art as actively feminist, not only because they offer women’s perspectives, but because they do so by provocatively bringing up the complicated, multivalent frameworks of such engagements. While each artist has a unique perspective, style, and worldview, the essays in this book investigate their shared investments in formal innovation and experimentation, and in playing with questions of the autobiographical, the fantastic, and the spaces in between.
Doucet is a Canadian underground cartoonist, known for her autobiographical works such as Dirty Plotte and My New York Diary. Meanwhile, Bell is a British American cartoonist best known for her intensely introspective semiautobiographical comics and graphic memoirs, such as the Lucky series and Cecil and Jordan in New York. By pairing Doucet alongside Bell, the book recognizes the significance of female networks, and the social and cultural connections, associations, and conditions that shape every work of art.
In addition to original essays, this volume republishes interviews with the artists. By reading Doucet’s and Bell’s comics together in this volume housed in a series devoted to single-creator studies, the book shows how, despite the importance of finding “a place inside yourself” to create, this space seems always for better or worse a shared space culled from and subject to surrounding lives, experiences, and subjectivities.