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Debbie Drechsler

Biography

( back )

Debbie Drechsler was born in 1953 in Champaign, IL but she moved around so much as a child that she has a hard time identifying one place where she can say she came from. She is certainly a product of her voracious reading. But the superhero comics and Mad Magazines she read as a little girl are miles away from the books that motivated her as an adult. Amazingly, Debbie has managed to bring together these disparate influences to bear on her work with stunning results.

As an adult, two places did have a big impact on her life and career. She went to school at the Rochester Institute of Technology in the early 1970s where, remarkably, she just narrowly missed what could have been her first encounter with Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth in the halls.

From Rochester she began working in illustration and design. In the 70s, like many working women, Debbie discovered the feminist movement and her life was transformed by women's radical writings. It wasn't long before Debbie encountered Wimmin's Comix and she found herself thinking about new possibilities for her art. It wasn't until the mid-80s when Debbie, as a full-time illustrator, moved to Northern California and met Richard Sala that she began reading alternative comix.

Debbie drew her first strip in 1992 and within a few months she was published in the Drawn & Quarterly magazine. The next year saw Debbie begin a controversial and heartbreaking strip about incest for two New York and Seattle alt weeklies. These strips were collected in the 1996 Fantagraphics graphic novel Daddy's Girl.

With Daddy's Girl Debbie made a splash in the comix world. Her narratives are understated stories of dis-ease and shocking dysfunction, while her visual style is arresting, but surprisingly subtle and expressive. The next year saw a host of award nominations including an Ignatz Award for Best New Talent and a new comic book series. Drawn & Quarterly published Nowhere #1 that year and the five part story wrapped up in 1999. In 2002 the Nowhere series was collected into the critically acclaimed graphic novel Summer of Love which became available in paperback in 2003.

Debbie lives in Santa Rosa, CA and continues to work as an illustrator. You can find her work in Business Week, U.S. News & World Report, Redbook, Parenting, Child, Texas Monthly, The Boston Globe, Natural Health, Shape, Condé Nast Traveler, The Los Angeles Times, The Oakland Tribune, The Washington Post, Esquire, Spy, Avon Books, Bantam Books, Mercury Press and The Algonquin Press.


Her illustration web site is http://www.sonic.net/~debdrex/


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