A couple times a week I’m going through comics I picked up at conventions from the previous year and finally reading them over lunch, then writing a review before I’ve got to go back to work:
What’s The Word? by Cathy Leamy
Cathy Leamy’s comics are awesome; actually, Cathy Leamy is awesome, so you should check out her comics. That’s really all you need to know about that, but I’ll go on a little longer since this is the first time I’m doing this on the new site here.
Let me be honest with you guys: I’ve gone to a lot of conventions, and I have not always sold a lot of comics. That doesn’t always matter. At MeCAF 2013, I sold maaaaybe three books, but I still had a stellar time. Partially thanks to my table mates and other cool people I reconnected with at the show, but the memory that sticks out first-and-foremost is what was supposed to be a five minute “hey how are you” that turned into a fevered thirty minutes in the middle of the convention floor as we both lambasted that terrible “Star Trek Into Darkness” movie.
MeCAF is a really wonderful convention, and I’m going to the 2014 show this weekend (as a visitor, not an exhibitor), but this was my most cherished memory of that particular show, and that’s Cathy in a nutshell: nerdy enthusiast and a delight to be in conversation with. Luckily for all of us, her comics are a conversation with her that you participate in when you pick up one of her books.
All of her comics have an unpretentious honesty to them. To read Cathy’s comics is to know Cathy. She captures her own voice really well on the page, which I mean as a huge compliment, because “be yourself” is one of the most difficult things to do. Especially in comics, where writing and then editing and then drawing a story, revisiting it several times like that, can drain the vitality out of a tale. It’s like saying “concentrate and just relax.” Those things are inherently opposed to each other. Her art style feels unforced and fun, her characters are expressive and enjoyable to read, and her lettering is always a quick, easy read. (That all these elements seem so simple and obvious while also being unique to her makes me think that it shows just how talented she is).
Cathy is a Boston-based cartoonist and badass. She’s a long-time member of the great Boston Comics Roundtable. Her comics were primarily autobiographical and I’d highly recommend any of her “Geraniums and Bacon” collections of these stories. Lately, she’s turned to making comics about health and wellness (which, in turn, has inspired her to go back to school to seek a masters degree in health communication. Which is awesome, if sad because grad students have less time than civilians do for making comics).
That said, I don’t think What’s The Word is the best place to start. This is a short collection of journal strip she’d done, and it’s nice and funny in Cathy’s usual way, but if someone was coming to her stuff new for the first time, I’d suggest one of her other autobio comics (the previously mentioned Geraniums and Bacon), one of her single-topic wellness comics, or, if you’re looking for a great, low-cost first experience of Cathy’s style, pick up “I Survived Gwar!”