Since Exotic is, in its heart of hearts, a print tribute to the female form... since Exotic did print 236 pictures of women and their scintillating parts and only eight pictures of men (I didn't count, one of my fans did it for me), it seems fitting and fair to bring up a few books for our reading dancers and femme devotees. I know for a fact that there are dancers out there who really know their comix. (Isn't that right, Ms. T?)

Daddy's Girl
Debbie Drechsler
Fantagraphics Books

Behind her lush black and white drawups, Drechsler gives us haunting glimpses into the nightmarish world of a young girl living with an abusive, molesting father and a cold, dispassionate mother. This feels a little like the film Welcome to the Dollhouse with our protagonist, Lily, enduring both the torments of a fucked home life and the insanity of high school.

Drechsler's style is similar to both Lynda Bonny and Dame Darcy's. She uses cartoony, angular figures over psychedelic, engaging background work as she tells her horrible coming-of-age stories. Daddy's Girl is broken into 11 short pieces, or chapters. In the early chapters, we get a course in Lily's abusive-reality. Her father sexually assaults her, gets rid of her dog, verbally puts her down, and beats her when she laughs at his shrivelled weenie. Drechsler's piece, "Sixteen," is a story that seems to stand apart from the rest of the narrative. It features a plump highschooler named Frannie who is raped by an old dope dealer who sells to some of her friends. It's the easy-flowing, quick storytelling style that catches me. Drechsler doesn't dwell on the violence or explicitness in her characters' lives. Abuse happens quite matter-of-factly, then Drechsler moves on to the next thing. The next thing often being something just as bad or worse.

Dirty Plotte
Julie Doucet
Drawn and Quarterly

As far as female cartoonists go, Julie Doucet is queen of gender themes. In earlier issues of her comic, Dirty Plotte, this Canadian artist dealt with city-fantasies, dream diaries, and all sorts of strange sex fixations. Her later issues have meandered towards some autobiographical pieces, the most intriguing being her "loss of virginity" story in Dirty Plotte 7. She's my Picasso of black and white cartoonists, using the oddest perspectives; and my Dali, with her talking kitchen utensils, cats turning into strippers, and packs of bodiless human heads roaming the streets. She's just plain nuts and you can also find some of her comic books compiled in two graphic novels: My Most Secret Desires and Leve Ta Jambe Mon Poisson Est Mort. Just to warn you: She really enjoys dealing with and "playing with" bodily fluids and functions.

Thanks to Counter Media at 927 SW Oak in Portland for the loan.

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