Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Selves by Sonja Ahlers

(Drawn and Quarterly) (GUEST REVIEW by ROBERT DAYTON) Before blogs, before zines, there was scrap booking: the root of it. Reconfigured and recontextualized. Deeply loaded images of feminine archetypes: a multiplicity of selves, whether through growth or through differing facets, Sybil references abound. A book to fall into. Published by Drawn and Quarterly but this is not a comic book, it’s more of an art book; a funny, haunting, mostly visual thing; scant text that encourages multiple readings.    The Selves  is less flip and more focused, more nuanced, than her previous book Fatal Distraction. I particularly enjoyed the carefully sprinkled images of a pre-teen Lady Diana vacantly watching TV and reading romance novels. This leads up to the pivotal final girl Jamie Lee Curtis screaming as, on the next page, a beauty clay mask Diana hovers on a balcony, looking much like Michael Myers from Halloween. Delicate yet pointed collage with a flowing script commentary and sharp asides all lurk inside a soft pink cover for a book that’s tougher than that.

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