I just read Julie Doucet’s graphic novel, My New York Diary. Doucet started publishing long-form comics in 1987 in the form of a zine called Dirty Plotte, and kept at it until 2006, when she walked away from the form. My New York Diary is an autobiographical work covering a period during which she moved from Montreal to New York and ending with a move to Seattle.
Her drawing is quite dense, or perhaps busy is a better word, or maybe cluttered. At first I found that to be disconcerting and difficult for me to navigate. There was simply a lot to look at in the small frames on the page. I soon got over that and found myself drawn into the work. I came to appreciate the level of wacky detail in the drawings.
Much of the book deals with her life with her boyfriend living in a crappy apartment in Washington Heights in NY. She creates comics. They drink a lot and take a lot of drugs. She has epilepsy and starts having more seizures. Her boyfriend blames their deteriorating relationship on her medication.
My New York Diary is in the same kind of graphic novel genre as the last comic I read, American Splendor, in that it features the author and follows her everyday life. Doucet depicts herself on the one hand as someone who is willing to abruptly move to another city but on the other hand she is willing to put on display her own frailties, destructive life choices and difficult relationships.