February 4, 2014

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I Cut My Hair 4

A long time ago, at one of the first SPX shows I ever attended, I picked up two mini comics from Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg and enjoyed them quite a bit. (I'm going to go ahead and link to my reviews of I Cut My Hair 1 and I Cut My Hair 2, but I'm almost afraid to look at them, because they're so old at this point.) So I was really excited to see Lisa again at Rose City Comic-Con and pick up her latest collection of comics.

The results didn't disappoint, as Lisa's engaging, personal reflections, combined with humor and improved variety in artistic styles made for a great pick-up. I had seen a few of these posted online here and there, especially the ones relating to her foot surgery, but most were new to me.

We open with Eisenberg talking directly to the reader, introducing the mini and discussing where she's at in her life as this went to print. Like the best autobiographical comics, this one takes us very close to Lisa's feelings, such as her resentment at being unable to do all that she wants to do, because of a genetic issue with her foot or having a moment where she feels very bad about herself and puts those feelings into a series of abused self-portraits.

Most of Lisa's illustrations feature fine linework that focuses heavily on the people involved in the story. She uses a lot of medium and close-up looks, with only occasional establishment shots to set the scene, whether it's outdoors, a library, or a bedroom. Anyone who reads a lot of this style of mini-comics will be familiar with the technique. The point of these comics isn't to show cracks in the paint on the wall--it's to let us know what the people inside those panels are thinking and doing.

And what they think and do it a lot of fun to read. Moby Dick Jokes is friends getting in trouble while doing research in a quiet space. Anyone who likes to keep a clean house will sympathize with Lisa when it comes to the Ant Massacre. And then there's Nuts, which is just plain silly.

Comics such as Momentum show Eisenberg experimenting a bit with form. While riding a bike, Lisa discusses making progress, while the visuals show her doing so. Foot Surgery 2 moves her into playing with multiple tight panels, expressing a range of quick emotions. Allison and Rachel Try Makeup uses additional shading to flesh out the normal thinness of Eisenberg's characters.

I Cut My Hair 4 finds Lisa moving out a bit from just creating autobiographical comics, and the samples we see here make me wish she'd try her hand at doing a fictionalized mini sometime soon with a longer theme. These shorts are great reading in the meantime, and they're even online now for those who aren't in the Pacific Northwest. Take a look if you're a fan of short comics that mix personal thoughts with some zany ideas.