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CSBG Archive

A Month of Self-Published Comics: I Still Live

This month I am posting a review of a different self-published comic book each day for the rest of the month! Here is an archive of the books reviewed so far!

Today I am featuring Annie Murphy’s I Still Live

This is a really striking work that has luckily been given some well-deserved attention (even winning a Xeric Grant!).

I Still Live is a complex, yet engrossing tale by Annie Murphy about 19th century mystic, Achsa Sprague.

Really, if I were to pick a comic book to compare it to, the best bet would really have to be art spiegelman’s Maus, in the way that Murphy gives us the story of Sprague, but just like spiegelman in his story about his father’s life during World War II, Murphy gives us her reaction to the discovery of Sprague’s story plus Murphy’s reaction/interaction to said story, and the fact that Sprague’s life was led in such close promixity to Murphy (who was studying at the time of this book at Vermont’s Center for Cartoon Studies.

It is works like these that truly stretch people’s conceptions of what you can achieve with comics, and really, in a lot of ways, this is the sort of work that might only truly be expressed in the form of a comic (there is definitely a cinematic aspect to the comic, but the way that Murphy cuts between Sprague’s history, Sprague’s diary and Murphy’s discoveries re: Sprague, I wonder if it would perhaps be too complicated for a cinematic narrative – but perfect for a comic book narrative, where the “stuck in time” aspect of each page allows you to cram a lot more information all cut next to each other).

A lot of the work is pretty simple artistically, but there are a bunch of artistic flourishes, as well, when it suits the story.

This is a really strong work, and in a nice case of serendipity (even crazier, her site even USES the word “serendipity” in it!), just the other week, Murphy released a brand-new printing of I Still Live, with a new color cover.

Check it out here, although I am unsure about where you can go to find out where to purchase one (I’d sure love to get me one of the new printings, myself).

If you would like to participate in the month with your self-published comic, there most likely is still time (depending on how fast you mail out comics). Just check out the Review Copies section to see where to mail a review copy of your comic.

One Comment

Wow! What a totally kind and generous review–I am much obliged…I’ve been procrastinating on finding someone to distro the book (kind of because I didn’t really believe it would actually exist until I saw it last week). But if you want a copy, I am selling the new version sliding scale for $5-$10. Just email me at murphylawless@gmail.com and we’ll swap addresses. The new version is black and white and blue (all over). It’s near 60 pages and printed offset at Eberhardt Press (Portland,OR). Thanks again!

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