"Martha, I hear such such nice things about your son, Superman. But did you hear that my Nathan is just a year away from becoming a podiatrist? I don't know how you manage with sewing all those buttons back on each time your Clark rips open one of his shirts -- on your feet all day and now you've got more sewing? Well, if you ever want someone to take a look at those bunions, I can ask my Nathan..."
Comic books are not often thought of as the domain of Jewish women, but "Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women" aims to change that perception. Many of the most transgressive and influential comics of the past 75 years were written and drawn by Jewish women, and now a survey of their work is opening Tuesday, Nov. 5, at the Jewish Museum of Florida - FIU.
The exhibition was curated by Michael Kaminer and by Sarah Lightman, whose drawings of food and her possessions track her swelling and collapsing relationships, and who is also featured in the show. There are 17 other autobiographical artists in "Graphic Details," spanning a 40-year age range. All of them are Jewish and all of them are women. What's not to like?
Diane Noomin was a pioneer of confessional comics as the creator of Didi Glitz, her booze-and-pill-swilling alter ego waging a scorched earth campaign against her own aging. Though the Didi Glitz comics tend towards exaggeration, Noomin also created the groundbreaking The C-Word about her own abortion ("C" referring to, amongst other things, Choice). Noomin is also the co-founder with Aline Kominsky-Crumb of Twisted Sisters Comics in the 1970s, which exclusively published women artists.
Kominsky-Crumb is a part of "Graphic Details," as well. Though she is often grouped with her husband R. Crumb for their overlapping work in the early days of confessional comics, the Jewish Museum will be showcasing her diverse and entirely separate body of work that has earned regard in its own right. South Florida is represented by native Sarah Lazarovic, who chronicled a year of her life by painting all of the high-priced fashion she chose not to buy during that time.
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And then there is Ariel Schrag, who retold her high school years in an award-winning tetralogy of graphic novels before going on to write for the TV shows The L Word and How to Make It in America. Her first prose novel is out next year. But her many fans may be keen to know that the real-life basis for her tetralogy's oft fickle love interest, Sally Jults, is now a Miami resident.
Will Jults be haunting the gallery, hoping that visitors recognize her? Many of the artists will be stopping through the show for related events and for a panel during the Miami Book Fair International. Will you learn something intensely personal about them on the gallery wall and then have an intensely uncomfortable run-in with them in the washroom? Will the run-in be more or less awkward because you are a man in the women's room?
The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission costs $6 for adults and is always free on Saturdays. Visit jmof.fiu.edu or call 305-672-5044. And while you've got the phone in your hand, would it kill you to call your mother? She knows you're busy with the coming and going all the time but still, giving birth to you was no walk in the park.