Julia Wertz is super funny, and you should read her work.
Wertz’s humour is what attracted me to this text while I was going through my standard process of book selection, which mostly involves me picking out 3-8 comics from the Central branch of the HPL based on some very quick page flipping because I am, inevitably, late for something. (I’ve tried to pick a single panel that gives a solid impression of exactly what it is about her pacing that makes her work so funny.) I became hooked on Wertz’s work not by the humour (alone), but by her sardonic engagement with the rougher edges of human existence, and perhaps especially because her dark humour is so often directed at herself.
One of my favourite features of this text (which it has in common with Calling Dr. Laura) is that Wertz goes to great lengths to signal an engagement with space and place. Drinking at the Movies features several brief sub-sections dedicated to spaces, both the various apartments that Julia inhabits in her time in New York, and streetscape scenes. The effect is that I spent a good deal of time thinking about how architecture informs the character of a place in both a macro (city-wide) and micro (neighbourhood-wide, but also in terms of individual and family living space) sense. I’m working on a long-form piece of writing that looks, briefly, at architecture in Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and, while my engagement with that text is of a different order than my engagement with Wertz’s work, her insistence that space is important on multiple levels (this is a story about her own life, but also about how New York City has shaped her) has helped to reinvigorate my excitement about the work I’ve started on Fun Home.