Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Evening in Williamsburg: Gabrielle Bell's "Lucky" at Desert Island

On our way from Dumbo Books HQ to the G train early Friday evening, we made a stop at our favorite neighborhood comic-book store, Desert Island, for the launch party of the new issue of Lucky (Volume 2, Number 2), by the extremely talented Gabrielle Bell, whose work is both wry and knowing, bittersweet and resonant.

Amid the good-sized crowd (the party had just begun) -- of which Gabrielle's kindly uncle saved us from from being the oldest in the room (but he looks younger than us!) -- we waited patiently for Gabrielle to inscribe our book. She apologized needlessly for being slow as she drew a cartoon version of us that was pockmarked, potato-faced, tangle-haired and Dumbo-eared; in other words, it was a perfect likeness!

Publishers Weekly
called Gabrielle Bell's book version of Lucky "completely engrossing...even addictive
—because Bell has such a flair for communicating a specific brand of postcollegiate ennui. Her day-to-day existence is a litany of dilapidated rental apartments, low-paying jobs, yoga classes and artistic frustration, but Bell's straightforward storytelling reveals a true poignancy amid the tedium. Far from being depressing, these snippets of daily life in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, N.Y., are comforting in their frankness and familiarity; by settling into the rhythm of the artist's daily life, the reader experiences the heft of small victories and simple pleasures. Never laugh-out-loud funny, brief tales of yoga roommate miscommunication, ignorant comics buyers, the anguish of nude modeling, and sex-obsessed, adolescent art students radiate good humor and are sure to resonate with a certain stripe of well-educated, underemployed 20-something comic reader. Lucky is yet another sophisticated, nuanced pleasure.

This week Racked called Desert Island "[a]n adorable, quirky comic book store." We hope you'll visit Desert Island to get a copy of Lucky or some of the other amazing stuff on sale there. Meanwhile, we had to skeedaddle out of there last night to get to J.J. Byrne Park for an 8 p.m. date with Shakespeare. But Lucky's new volume is terrific -- Gabrielle's brilliant take on her MySpace experience alone is worth the small price for it. Isn't life wonderful!

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