Women's Review of Books Features Lynda Barry's Making Comics

“Making Comics” / Women's Review of Books / Anastasia Higginbotham / January 1, 2020

On page 140 of Lynda Barry's newest book, "Making Comics", she includes an exercise called "Instant Book Review." I used it to write this one. Following Barry's instructions, my materials were an 8.5 x 11 inch folded sheet of paper, a flair pen, and a timer (your phone's fine, as long as it's set to airplane mode). The book itself was not necessary. "If you have it out," she instructs, "put it away."


Making Comics, like much of Barry's work as an artist and lay scientist, explores the concept of seeing, eyes open and eyes closed, in our mind's eye and in the course of an ordinary day. "Notice what you notice," she offers. See who and what shows up on the page. She tells us, in your own and one another's work- and, by all means, see and draw monsters.


Here's what I saw: The outpourings and abundance of an artist whose own drawings did not survive her childhood (not a single one). And who tells us she watched mesmerized, as one of her uncles, then a recent refugee to the US obsessively drew monsters. He was later taken away by the cops- she never saw him after that. And here's the quote I remember: "Have mercy on the unspeakable monster who has no other way to tell you it's you."

The full review is available in print from the Women's Review of Books


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