It's A Good Life, If You Don't Weaken
Canadian cartoonist Seth (an admitted mistake of a name change enacted in the early '80s) has been writing his bittersweet autobiographical comic Palookaville on a semi-regular basis for five years now. Unlike other autobiographical cartoonists like Dennis Eichorn or Harvey Pekar, Seth's recent stories have not hinged on one tight narrative event in his life. Instead, his narratives focus on one theme or obsession, and they follow it over any period of time. In It's A Good Life, If You Don't Weaken, a six-issue story spanning two to four years, he tells of his search for an obscure gag cartoonist named Kallo. The story also offers a good insight into his person: While he can spend a great deal of time and effort on a quixotic endeavor, he can never channel those energies into his relationships with family members or lovers. Seth's art is perfect for the storyhis drawings are clean and crisp, much like those of the gag cartoonist for whom he's searchingand it matches his struggle to find order in a disorderly world. It's Seth's anachronistic characteristics and refusal to accept the "joys" of modern life which make It's A Good Life so fun to read.