Body Music by Julie Maroh. Translated by David Homel. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2017. 9781551526928. 300pp.
“The daily dance of standards and stereotypes reminds us just how political the body is. The same is true of our love affairs…Bow-legged, chubby, ethnic, androgynous, trans, pierced, scarred, ill, disabled, old, hairy, outside all the usual aesthetic criteria…Queers, dykes, trans, freaks, the non-monogamous, flighty, and spiny hearts…We are not a minority; we are the alternatives. There are as many love stories as there are imaginations.”
— Julie Maroh (from her introduction)
Maroh’s book of romantic vignettes and thoughts, and the comics that illustrate them, set out to prove that. I can’t imagine a person who wouldn’t find themselves in one of these based on who they are and how their love lives have gone. (Even cisgendered, white, heterosexual old male me saw myself in several.) The stories are entertaining, and the art has a wonderful smudginess that suggests or contains subtle colors — I’ll be looking at this book again and again. (And while I like the paper version, my ebook review copy’s pages glow, and I recommend that experience.) Bonus: the drawings take me back to one of my favorite cities, Montreal.
Maroh previously wrote and drew the beautiful Blue is the Warmest Color, the basis for the film of the same name. Both graphic novels have explicit sex, so you’ll probably end up putting this in your adult section or shelving it far above your picture books at home.