Hi! I'm in Florida. Here's Trevor sipping a cafe con leche and contemplating the Atlantic Ocean in South Beach, Miami.
I came down here to present Make Me a Woman at the Miami Book Fair International, on Nov. 21. The particularly amazing aspect of this event was, for me, sharing the presentation and signing with the vibrant, awe-inspiring Lynda Barry.
This was a pretty insane event for me. (The good kind of insane.) I read a few stories from my book and Lynda presented her new book, Picture This: The Nearsighted Monkey Book.
Since then, I have been spending time with my mom, and mooning over the soft sunny South Florida weather.
In the meantime, I am really happy to read these recent reviews of Make Me a Woman:
And this one's not online [Oops, now it is--ed.], but you'll just have to trust me that this appeared in the LA Times last Sunday, Nov.28:
by Deborah Vankin
Los Angeles Times
In "Make Me a Woman," Vanessa Davis lays it all out there -- Fat Camp, phone sex, late-night binging, even mustache bleaching. Her second book, in what's still a relatively young career that also includes columns for Tablet Magazine, collects the rambling, neurotic and admirably honest diary comics she drew throughout her 20s, from 2004 to the present.
The book, out recently from Drawn & Quarterly, stitches together a pastiche of styles: loose, deeply personal pencil sketches, richly colored narrative comics, and full-page, color self-portraits showcasing a spectrum of moods, outfits and haircuts. Plus random drawings that were "just hanging out in my sketchbook," she says. From the adolescent bat mitzvah circuit of her youth in Florida to the first loves and first jobs that come later in New York, it's a comedic coming-of-age chronicle.
"The themes are friendship, the yearning for connection, confidence and sense of self, growing up," she says.
Early on, Davis, who now lives in Northern California, was drawn to the work of Debbie Drechsler and Aline Kominsky Crumb. "[They] made the biggest formal influence on me because they drew kind of how I like to draw -- cartoony. When I started drawing comics, I was both incorporating and battling their influences," she says.
Being Jewish also factors heavily in the book -- her free-spirited, Reform mom is a central recurring character -- though Davis says writing about religion was unintentional. "I never intended on writing about Judaism in my comics. I grew up with a lot of Jewish influences, so I didn't think it was interesting. I took it for granted." Instead, she came to cartooning with a devotion to documentation and autobiographical painting and drawing. "Art has always been my real religion," she says.
This coming weekend, due to a last minute change of plans, I'll be up at the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival. I'll be at the Drawn+Quarterly booth!