The Globe & Mail reviews Present

“Review: Roz Chast’s Going in Town, Leslie Stein’s Present and Chris Ware’s Monograph” / The Globe and Mail / Sean Rogers / October 27, 2017

Reading Leslie Stein's comics – drawn from evanescent moments in daily life and the curious memories they encourage to surface – always feels strangely immersive, like experiencing the inside of someone else's head. As Stein depicts herself wandering New York, tending bar, drawing comics and generally musing, she tinges reality with her own idiosyncratic palette, decorating each page with effulgent colour and expressive lettering. Doodling herself as an abstract, brainy tangle of hair, with two dots for eyes and a squiggle of a mouth, and leaving significant players such as her mom, dad and various exes off the margins of the page, Stein seems less concerned with detailing the outward facts of her own existence than she is with representing how those moments and memories inwardly feel. Her strips don't so much record her life as they retrace her wide-ranging, digressive thinking, turning reflections about childhood or encounters with oddball, sweetheart strangers – a doleful regular at her bar, uninhibited young students at her cartooning workshop – into modest, compassionate epiphanies.

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