Monday, June 18, 2018

The Infinite Wait and Other Stories

The Infinite Wait and Other Stories (2012) by Julia Wertz: Three pieces make up this comics collection from Julia Wertz. 

The first, entitled "Industry," chronicles the jobs she's had over two decades and two coasts, from a lot of waitressing and bartending jobs to her later days as a professional cartoonist who doesn't have to hold down another job.

The second, the eponymous "The Infinite Wait," covers Wertz's move to San Francisco from Napa in 2002 and her subsequent diagnosis of having the auto-immune disease Lupus. The third, "A Strange and Curious Place," is, in Wertz's own words, "basically just a love letter to my hometown library and everything it taught me."

"Industry" probably has the most laughs per panel, even as Wertz starts to lose jobs because of her incessant drinking. The publishing success of her first two books, Fart Party I and II, moves "Industry" to an often hilarious evaluation of how Hollywood tries to adapt work, and specifically autobiographical work. 

"The Infinite Wait," Wertz informs the reader, was a title chosen for its pretension and "seriousness" as a joke related to the decidedly unpretentious tale of Wertz vs. Lupus. This is certainly one of the funniest comics stories ever created about an incurable auto-immune disease. Well, any disease, any sickness. It may catch at the heart, but the story never stops presenting situations of high wit and low comedy.

Then there's "A Strange and Curious Place," the shortest piece in the book. It is indeed a paean to Wertz's hometown library, and to the joys of reading for a child. The depiction of Julia and her brother's excitement at the annual library book sale is a gem of humourous, pithily observed sentiment. The book, too, is a gem of autobiographical self-evaluation and often raunchy, sometimes obscene brilliance. Highly recommended.

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