by Craig Thompson; Top Shelf Productions
I think autobiography is a tricky to pull off. The truthiness of the biography, the dramatic narrative, and the very personal relationship between the author and reader must all balance. And, if nothing else, autobiography is an act of amazing bravery and incredible hubris. Blankets is an autobiographical comic by Craig Thompson about his first highschool love and his difficult family life. It tells the story of a glorious two-week trip to visit "Raina", the first love of his life, as he struggles with a past shaped by fundamentalist Christianity, poverty, and abuse. It's a very well crafted comic with a solid central narrative and some really adept, gorgeous artwork. Thompson does a magnificent job elevating everyday occurrences with clever comics and elaborate designs. Blankets is also supremely evocative: it takes me right back to my own highschool views and my first puppy-love romance. But this is, I think, where Blankets loses me... it reflects teenage self-involvement, a kind of idealized objectification of women, and a certain lack of compassion that is all treated with, perhaps, a lack of self-awareness. Blankets, instead of awakening feelings of nostalgia, just makes me uncomfortable. I mean, it's a remarkably beautiful comic and an act of bravery, but this is balanced by its egocentrism and borderline myopia. Maybe I am just projecting my own insecurities, but I'm not sure I can unequivocally recommend this comic. However, I feel like the quality of the sequential art and the personal experience are probably worth a look.
Word count: 250