Friday, February 12, 2010

Likewise by Ariel Schrag

This is the final installment of Ariel Schrag's High School Comic Chronicles. Through her Grade 12 year, Ariel is unable to get over Sally, the lover who dumped her and who is now attending college and dating guys. Ariel makes her way through Sally's favourite book, Ulysses by James Joyce (which is pictured accompanied always by an annotated guide to Ulysses). Ariel also spends a lot of time trying to find a scientific answer for why people are gay. And she spends hours on her epic autobiographical multivolume comic project.

On Ariel's 18th birthday, her mother gives her some money and Ariel plans to spend it on a sex toy. Sally comes by for a visit with her college roommate, Alexis. The text boxes feature Joycean stream-of-consciousness: "let them morose and apathetic. Sally pats on head: 'what's wrong?' disinterested in imbecility. In room I shove paunch of money into my pocket. looks like an eager erection."

I found an online interview with Schrag that helped me understand why the final third of Likewise makes such radical style shifts. Schrag is brave, insightful and talented. The artwork includes realistic masterbation and sex scenes, so I don't recommend this for reading on public transit... otherwise, I recommend it to any adult who enjoys honest character portrayal.

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