Graphic Novel Friday: I Saw You... Edited by Julia Wertz
I Saw You...,edited by Julia Wertz, is subtitled "Comics Inspired by Real-life Missed Connections Filled With Near Misses, Brief Encounters, Lusty Longings, and a Little Hope for Love." Tthis clever, poignant, tender, and neurotic collection of vignettes features work by such luminaries as Peter Bagge, Jesse Reklaw, Tom Hart, Sam Henderson, Laura Park, Gabrielle Bell, and Emily Flake. Most of these "dramatizations" of Craig's List "Missed Connections" listings do a great job of fleshing out the context. Some of the best entries are single-panel, like Jon Adams' "You Work At the Hot Dog Stand On Route 5," with the message "I think your name is April. I come to you every Tuesday afternoon. With my wife. You seem to hate her. I do too." The image is of a fat middle-aged man holding out an engagement ring to a bored-looking hot dog vendor in a tank top. Almost out of the frame, near the bottom, you can just see two feet sticking out onto the pavement. Even funnier is Jeffrey Brown's explanation for why he didn't write a missed connection comic for the book...the explanation of course involving one of his own missed connections.
The addition of images makes the reader more of a voyeur in one sense, but also makes the situtions more real. Whereas you might just laugh at some of the text if you encountered it on Craig's List, in this new context you begin to get the sense of real people behind even the stupidest missed connections. Some people will always come off as tools or fools regardless, but behind all the comedy and the absurdity of the book there's a great deal of all-too-human pain.