Nobody's ever accused Julia Wertz of being a fine artist. Her comics appear to be willfully simplistic, a kind of caveman cartooning whose figures don't always have joints or realistic proportions. But comics are always a dance between writing and art, and Wertz's cartoons are the perfect delivery system for her stories. She writes memoir comics that at first seem direct and uncomplicated, but the more you read, the more detail and nuance you notice.

A bad cartoonist wouldn't draw every book scattered in the background of every living room, or the intricate establishing shots of New York City apartment buildings that open many scenes. And a weak memoirist wouldn't imbue her supporting characters with suggestions of lives that go on when she leaves the room. The great deception of Wertz's comics is that you read them thinking that they're just a string of crudely drawn bawdy jokes—and there are plenty of raunchy laughs in her books—and then they spring to life in front of you...

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