I find stories about the 1970s even more excruciating than the 1970s themselves, I’m not a very nostalgic person. Reading about idealistic young baby-boomers going to the city, living in squats and doing lots of drugs makes my skin crawl. I mean, sure, if it worked for you, great. But all I see is Hepatitis C. I know, I’m a square. ^_^; Nonetheless, I recommend reading The Further Fattening Adventures of Pudge, Girl Blimp.
In the 1970s, Howard Cruze famously curated Gay Comix, among which was the work of pioneering lesbian comics creator Lee Marrs, with her touching story of a small-town girl coming to the big city of San Francisco in hopes of finding something like love (or, sex, that would be fine too.) Pudge is, as her name indicated, overweight, and while that isn’t really relevant to her story, it’s easy to see that it would resonate with an entire generation of young women struggling to be more than the guy-next-door’s wife whose husband bought her a new girdle every birthday. And being a relic of that earlier time, this book is not at all what we might expect in terms of body size acceptance. “Not politically correct” seems vastly understated.
The art is very “American Comix,” style crowded; messy and hard to follow, often intentionally, with very loose panel structure.
Pudge does things that seem rather cliché now – she attends women’s sexuality workshops in which they look at their own vulva, smokes pot, lives in a commune in which no one is really competent to keep it running, works on a co-op newsletter always on the edge of bankruptcy, participates in street marches, etc. (It’s a little like the 1970s are a comic book that didn’t becomes rare, everyone has a copy and we’ve all read it.)
Pudge spends a lot of time pursuing sex and when she finally has it…is unimpressed. It’s not until she has sex with a member of her women’s group that it all makes sense to her. And her life making sense to her is the actual story here.
But more than just being yet another relic of an age, The Further Fattening Adventures of Pudge, Girl Blimp is a story of the beginning of a movement. In the 1970s, young women were rejecting the plans that were laid out for them by their parents and picking up the bricks and nailbats we carried through the AIDS crisis and which we’re still carrying today to fight our way against an establishment who wants (needs) us compliant and silent. And the beginning of America gay comics, a story we are still very much in the middle of.
Story – 7
Art – 6
Characters – 7 Earnest, rather than likable
LGBTQ – 5 Lesbian sex is the mindblower
Service – Sort of. There is nakedness and stuff, but it’s not really salacious…..
Overall – 7
It’s not a lesbian story per se, but it also is.