Like I said before, the shelves in my office are filled with books by people that seem to have disappeared from the face of the earth. Once the words from gods on my Olympos, their often faded spines now seem to hide themselves behind their familiarity, invisible by just being there.
One of these books is Jef Levine’s The Days Go By Like Broken Records (Slave Labor Graphics, 1995), a collection of stories from his comics No Hope, Help and Life Makes My Head Hurt, that are often hilarious, sometimes painful or just silly, and fairly autobiographical (one assumes). Above all, it’s a pretty accurate depiction of what sociologists started calling Generation X, men and women in their 20s, stuck in menial jobs and boredom, without opportunities and, quite often, aspirations.
I must have read that book a thousand times. I can still recount stories from it by heart. It was rougher, more on-the-nose than anything by Tomine, Matt or Porcellino (to name some other deities from said Olympos) were doing. It unsettled me to no end. But then comics grew up (and so did I), got fancy hard backs and covered a larger spectrum of subjects. And I forgot about LeVine.
But now he’s back. Like any survivor of the early aughts, he’s on Instagram, doing short autobiographical comics that seem to be made for this kind of medium. His artwork is more refined; he seems to have found a line that he is at ease with and that allows him to express himself without resorting to cartoony characters. And the stories too seem to be more relaxed, more — dare I say it — matured. This is an addition to my feed that will keep me going back for more.
(Thanks, Jeff, and thanks, Marc for the pointer!)