photo & text by nacrowe
CECIL AND JORDAN IN NEW YORK STORIES (DRAWN & QUARTERLY, 2009) is a collection of graphic short stories by BRITISH-AMERICAN ALTERNATIVE cartoonist GABRIELLE BELL. most of these narratives deal with the INTERIOR LIVES of young women as they navigate the ADULT WORLD and the pressures of maintaining friendships and the looming threat of INDEPENDENCE and RESPONSIBILITY. at times this is expressed through the realistically-depicted REBELLIOUS actions of characters while at others wild and FLABOYANT IMAGININGS and SPRAWLING IDEATIONS of fancy that fly far from any NATURAL depiction of REALITY. the through line that roots and connects the narratives together is a EMOTIONAL grounding in the characters' reactions. even if the plot is in essence quite a bit FANTASTICAL. it should also be noted that parts of CECIL AND JORDAN IN NEW YORK STORIES were the basis for the MICHEL GONDRY section in the anthology film TOKYO! (COMMES DE CINEMAS, 2008), himself no stranger to all CREATIVE things WONDROUS and ABSURD.
i think for anyone that survived adolescence it is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to not remember a time when one's IMAGINATION could serve as a distraction from the COLD, SOBER REALITIES that surrounded them. for me that vehicle of escape was film, travel, art and especially music. for others it is the wondrous capacity of literature that can allow for a temporary respite from reality while also helping one redefine such in an ALTERNATE UNIVERSE and HEADSPACE. it is that TRANSCENDENT power that individual EXPRESSION provides which helps us SELF-IDENTITY and modify our working BELIEF STRUCTURE. for me listening to SKINNY PUPPY, MASSIVE ATTACK or THE CARS allows me to channel different aspects of my IDENTITY and helps alleviate STRESS and provide CLARITY on a current situation. or perhaps distract me from such temporarily. reading through BELL's short stories gives me that same sense of individual adventure in enjoying the process of BECOMING. that sense when one is an adolescent of transitioning into a person you are not familiar with just yet as your introduction to your FUTURE SELF is just beginning.
i think BELL very much brings that feeling of emerging IDENTITY come to life throughout these short narratives. definitely recommended.