Aline Kominsky-Crumb isn’t fearless, but when it comes to sharing her life experiences, she bravely reveals what many choose to hide. She pioneered how women are represented in art, and her comics aren’t afraid of exposing her anxieties, desires, and personal trauma for all the world to see. Originally published in 1990, Love That Bunch is a collection of short comics that spotlight her groundbreaking point of view, and this new volume has been expanded with new strips and a foreword by Hillary Chute that provides biographical and cultural context for the work. This exclusive excerpt from Love That Bunch features the entirety of “Ze Bunché De Paree Turns 40,” a story about Kominsky-Crumb celebrating her 40th birthday with unabashed decadence before a phone call from her mother kills her buzz.
The self-deprecation begins in the very first panel, but it makes the joys of Kominsky-Crumb’s French birthday celebration all the more extreme. She reaches a level of inebriated delight that makes the world seem like a cubist fantasy, heightening reality before the phone call that sends her back down to Earth. The loose, uninhibited linework intensifies the emotional content on the page, and even though experiences like her time at weight-loss camp caused her a lot of stress at the time, she depicts it with a gentle touch that reinforces the secret satisfaction she received from it. On sale this week, this handsome hardcover from Drawn & Quarterly is a must-have for underground comix fans, and the frank honesty of these stories has helped them withstand the test of time.