Monday, November 5, 2007

One Hundred Demons by Lynda Barry

Five years ago a book by Linda Barry was published called 100 Demons. In it, she exorcises some of her own demons through a painting exercise of the same name (example to the right). Throughout the book she uses Sumi brushes and an inkstone.
This choice seems to have struck a harmonic chord in her because the freneticism and mad patterns which ran between the words of Ernie Pook have sublimed into a delicate froth of brushwork. She has that Zen knack of seeing the strokes on the paper while seeing the image they make as well. Add to that the collages which make up the title page to each demon. Folded paper animals, glitter, doodles on legal paper, all working together to make a glorious whole.
The stories making up each demon feel as if they are taken from life but, as she asks in the Introduction, "Is it autobiography if parts of it are not true? Is it fiction if parts of it are?"
Does it matter? Not in this case. Fiction or not, it is hard not to be carried back to childhood through these stories.
The OverDrone remembers looking forward to "Ernie Pook" in the nineties. The OverDrone puzzled through the dreamlike web of words and images just to see how Marlys was doing that week. In 100 Demons, Lynda Barry covers some of the same ground without ever repeating her self.
One Hundred Demons by Lynda Barry

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