Written and Illustrated by Emi Lenox
Published by Image Comics

52 Pick-Up Week 39:

I don’t read Live Journals or check my Twitter feed. Hell, I barely even pay attention to my friends’ Facebook updates. By the same token, I’m not a big fan of webcomics. Sure, there are a few I check out from time to time, but for the most part? They’re just not my thing. Therefore, a compilation of a sketch diary/webcomic is the very definition of “outside my wheelhouse.” When Emitown was brought to my attention, how could I not take a look at it for 52 Pick-Up.

You see, this book is the collected work of Emi Lenox, who decided to chronicle her life via a “sketch diary.” I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know that was a thing. Apparently, somewhere along the line, while working for Top Shelf Comics, Emi was convinced to make her private works public and put them up on the web. Since then, the popularity of Emitown has prompted the decision to release a collected work following approximately one year of her life; the book upon which this review is focused.

I’ve got to say… I’ve never understood the idea of collecting webcomics and publishing them in printed form. Webcomics are free, archived, and nearly infinitely accessible. Why put them on paper and charge for them? Who is the audience? But I digress.

In reading this book, it’s important that one remember that it was written primarily as a diary – created initially as an entirely self-serving act to allow one woman to keep track of her own thoughts and experiences, and to express them in a private act of catharsis. Take all of this into consideration, and it’s easy to understand the stream-of-consciousness style in which each page is put together. It makes sense, given the origin of the work. Still, for me, that doesn’t make it any more enjoyable.

Simply put, this book is too far outside my normal fare for me to find much of anything about it I truly appreciate. Of a 400 pages book, I only made it through ten percent; a mere forty pages. The book’s endearing, sure. The art’s adorable. But the bottom line? I don’t care. I’m not that guy. Whatever this book does right, I just don’t get it.

I can’t give Emitown a rating, good or bad, because I wouldn’t know where to start.

If you are a connoisseur of such things as webcomics and/or Live Journals, check this book out. I don’t doubt that it might offer the best of both worlds. I just don’t know that I’m qualified to make that assessment. I’ve got no frame of reference to judge it against, no sense of what it should or could be against which to weigh it. All I can honestly say is that it wasn’t my cup of tea, but the pictures were pretty enough. Let us know if you check it out, and tell us what you think below.


Filed Under: ImageReviews

Who ARE these people!?

Jason Kerouac is a co-founder of Panelsonpages.com. He spends roughly half of his waking life in servitude to the Giraffe. Raised in a town in New Hampshire you've never heard of, he now lives in Indianapolis, IN and is pretty sure that's a step in the right direction.

Comments (4)

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  1. Peg leg Pete says:

    might be able to shed a bit of light on your webcomics question.

    i’ve read them for years, and i do own several physical copies of half a dozen or so books. (by the way, for a more traditional style book, check out Girl genius. i own several volumes, but have never read a word online.)

    the reason i have bought the books is threefold: 1) to support a creative team whose work has entertained me, 2) to flip easily to favorite strips and reread them without delving into an online archive (especially true of things like Penny Arcade and PvP), 3) to have a complete bound narrative for story-driven strips (like Girl Genius or Megatokyo).

  2. Benny Powell says:

    It’s also important, perhaps, to point out that while the iPad does indeed make for a neat device for reading comics, nothing compares to the tactile sensation of reading a comic BOOK. That, couple with the invariable ADDED features that are included in most Webcomic tradepaper collections, and you have something EXTRA for the die-hard fans.

    It’s important to note that it’s likely these same features that make DVD and Blu-Ray sales still viable despite the ease with which people can likewise download that content. The DVD “Extras” are what set the “real thing” apart from the download.

    Then there’s the speed factor. Most webcomics are slow to load and the pages are FILLED with advertising. Which can be annoying for those people even on mobile devices to try to easily read. If I want to re-read from the comfort of my couch, I’m not going to want to be annoyed with zooming in and out on an iPad or using my laptop. I want a book.

    And finally, you also can’t COLLECT or get a SIGNATURE on an electronic copy of the book. And let’s face it, the collector mentality is at the very heart of this industry.

    Print is far from dead, and despite the claims that Webcomics are a purely digital medium… most every webcomic has print versions at the core of their business plan for any hope of true profitability.

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