Book of Daze: New And Selected Comics
Book of Daze by E.A. Bethea is the kind of book DOMINO exists to publish. I first found Bethea's work lying around an apartment I was visiting. I picked it up and from that moment on, have never forgotten it. As I began to read her dense pages, I was overwhelmed by the straightforward emotional statements and startlingly precise mind behind the sequences. In one moment, Bethea's comics would acknowledge pain and disappointment, then turn to explain it away or justify things, only to finally confront the problem from a new angle. On the next page, simple pleasures became the focus, romantic notions embraced. Later on in the book cynical approaches to anything and everything were duly considered. All of this managed to congeal as Bethea kept another strong cloud hanging over it all: a refusal to shy away from an unashamed embrace of the full panorama of life.
Bethea, a simple interpretation might offer, chronicles the web of living in the world with a heart and a mind sometimes at odds and sometimes simpatico. But Bethea gives us something more complex: at times, the work feels dead-pan as it shifts from exhilaration to resignation without a change in visual presentation, but it's here where we have a guide to the heart of Bethea's project. The often uniform nature of the pages and the highly non-uniform nature of what is contained within become a catalog of days or weeks or years. One page offers a subdued period in life, while the next (seemingly) similar page offers a day full of regret. Bethea talks about her work relating to cinema, specifically calling attention to what happens between one of her panels and the next. The shifts in emotion and carefully chosen images alongside highly precise language feel like walking into a film where the entire crew--from director to actor to gaffer---united in one mind to make something highly exquisite.
"I first discovered Bethea's stuff almost twenty years ago, she is one of the people whose work made me finally commit to comics as my medium of choice. With her barbed, nervous line and blunt writing style, she's like a Duchampian voice calling for comics revolt. Her comics call out to us that no matter how damaged or how much of an outsider someone is, comics is our birthright." -Josh Bayer, author of Theth
Author/Artist: E.A. Bethea
Publisher: Domino Books
Page Count: 40pp
Size: 8.25 x 10.5
Notes: saddle-stitched, newsprint, b/w
Date of Publication: 2017