So I put this text away for a few days until I recovered my usual, cheery demeanour, and then read the remainder of it in a single sitting. I’m still a little on the fence about it, though I do think it is interesting, and definitely worth a read. My thoughts about it are fairly disorganized (which is a testament to the text’s project), so I’m going to bullet point them.
1*Stylistically, it reminds me of Kathy Acker’s Blood and Guts in High School. This is a major plus, and has some wheels spinning in the academic part of my brain.
2*On the other hand, I found the extremely cluttered pages to be a little taxing. I spent a lot of time thinking about this, because it’s kind of out of character for me- Julie Doucet is one of my favourite comics producers, and her frames are equally cluttered. I think it’s because Chippendale’s gutters are virtually non-existent, which means that the space/time between moments and actions are more compressed. Combine this effect with the unusual reading pattern, and you get a fairly disrupted reading experience.
2a* A lot of my work is explicitly about form, so it was cool/useful to read a comics text that works so hard to get its reader to think about form.
2b* But sometimes the text was, in my opinion, ineffective. After a while, the unusual reading pattern began to feel ordinary. Additionally, the page-map labels were polarizing in their effectiveness. While “follow the trail of tears” was a poignant label (especially for how content-appropriate it is), “ready like anal leakage” was less so. I think it really works against the overarching project of form awareness at the heart of the text- anal leakage is the epitome of disorganization, far beyond the capacity of the comics form for disorganization.
3*There’s a reprieve section in the center of the text that depicts two full pages of twitter activity. This is my favourite section of the text- the account depicted is a real account, but there is no overlap in content between the two.