Strip Teaser

Cartoonist Julie Doucet's Secret 'Plotte'

The more at ease Doucet becomes with herself, the less she puts her own anxieties on display. The autobiographical element is absent in Long Time Relationship, except four pages culled from a zine that Doucet self-published last year. "Are you a real woman when . . . " catalogs Doucet's misdemeanors against femininity: "You never wear skirts," "You playfully slashed your arms," and "You have lots of hair on your legs and many bruises on your shins"—traces of the aging process brandished with glee instead of horror.

Detail from "The Artist" by Julie Doucet
photo: Copyright 1993 Julie Doucet/From Lève Ta Jambe Mon Poisson Est Mort!
Detail from "The Artist" by Julie Doucet

Not many women succeed in the comics milieu, and even fewer grow old there. Long Time Relationship is a scattered, transitional collection—not, therefore, a great introduction to Doucet's work. But for her many devotees, it shows Doucet once again ditching safe ground for uncharted territory.

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