This has so far been the hardest 52 Pick-Up for me to write (as evidenced by its lateness). Between the sheer length of the book and the fact that it is a wildly different format from most books, EmiTown 2 was incredibly fun but is very hard to describe.
EmiTown: A Sketch Diary
Written and drawn by Emi Lenox
Published by Image Comics
To be released in March 2012
EmiTown: A Sketch Diary, which I’ve been calling EmiTown 2 because it’s her second published autobiographical comic book, is Emi Lenox’s diary. That’s really the best way to describe it. Each day, she writes and draws a new page. Anything and everything is fair game, from a retelling of the day’s events to a complete flight of fantasy.
Emi writes passionately about her life; her worries, triumphs, and struggles. In the forward it’s mentioned that the EmiTown project came about as a way for Emi to become comfortable with putting her work out there for people to see. There are a ton of hilarious pages in this book, like the day she talks about a dream she had of Jake Gyllenhaal. (“What do you want?” “New pants!”)
Although there’s plenty of fun to be had in EmiTown 2, there’s also sadness. EmiTown 2 is incredibly honest when it comes to the ending of a relationship. Emi lets it all hang out, her doubts about whether the relationship is working, to her constant depression in the days leading up to the breakup, to the sad relief she feels when it’s finally over. That middle section (it’s in February 2011) is terribly sad, but so honest that it’s impossible to not become engrossed in the story. She also deals with some other heavy subjects like the death of a friend and her feelings of inadequacy as a comic creator.
I would describe the artwork in EmiTown 2 as “sweet”. Emi Lenox’s art style is a mixture of Peanuts and manga that is both simple and expressive. The book is printed in grayscale, and Emi is great at shading using only three tones. Her lettering is also fun to read, and it adds an additional, charming layer of “DIY-ness” when she scribbles out her (few) mistakes.
As a woman, I could really relate to Emi’s life. I almost felt as if she was inside my head at times. Sometimes I was thinking, “I’m glad I’m not that much of a mess,” but who am I kidding, right? She’s so forthcoming that it’s almost uncomfortable at times.
One thing that’s apparent is that Emi Lenox is a kickass up-and-coming comic creator. She’s a great inspiration. Instead of complaining about how nobody would give her a break, she went out on a limb and just started doing it. Everyone should read this book just to be inspired by Emi’s drive and determination.
I just can’t say enough how much I’m inspired by EmiTown 2, and it should be required reading for anyone with an interest in independent comics.