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CSBG Archive

Month of Women in Comics – Jennifer’s Journal: The Life of a SubUrban Girl Vol. 1

All this month I’ll be reviewing different comic books by female creators, based on submissions from the actual creators of the comic books themselves. Here‘s a list of all the books featured so far this month.

We’re behind, so I’ll be doubling up for the rest of the month!

We continue with the first volume of Jennifer’s Journal: The Life of a SubUrban Girl, written and drawn by Jennifer Crute…

suburbangirl

Jennifer Crute has a fascinating approach of telling her life story of growing up in the suburbs of New Jersey in the 1980s. While the comic is ROUGHLY a chronological story of her early childhood, what it really does is jump all over the place showing glimpses of Crute’s life here and there to the point where when we are finished with the book, we have a full grasp of her life and the surrounding influences that made up her life. For instance, Crute even goes back in time to show the life of her ancestors, like her mother as a child or her mother debating whether to marry Crute’s father or not.

These snapshots of life in the past (and the DISTANT past) only give us a quick view at a point in time, but when you put enough of them together, you see the full view of Crute’s experience.

Crute is a charming storyteller and she makes the story a very enjoyable one to experience. Her artwork is bright and cheery, which often contrasts with the story that she is telling. Perhaps one of the most striking stories in the book is when Crute notes how the lack of filter on little kids can often lead to some REALLY awkward situations…

suburbangirl3

Note the contrast behind the awfulness of the situation and the cuteness of that racist little baby. The baby in that story should be about 30 right now. I wonder if he is, in fact, a racist nowadays.

Crute’s relationship with her brother is a big part of the book. He comes off really well in the comic, as a sort of lighthouse for Crute in the storminess of her life growing up. Here, though, her brother giving her some help ended up having an embarrassing result for him…

suburbangirl1

A really great sequence in the comic is Crute’s problems relating to organized religion, especially when it came to her “problems” with trying to keep herself from touching herself, as she believes that’s what God wants…

suburbangirl2

That’s awesomely twisted.

A lot of the comic is like that, hilariously bizarre behavior but supporting with more than enough heart for your heartstrings to be repeatedly tugged by certain scenarios in Jennifer’s young life.

So if you’re looking for a hilarious (if rough at times due to the sad changes in Crute’s family life), well-though-out auto-biographical comic book, look no further than this comic, which you can buy here.

3 Comments

I like this a lot, but were people really saying “an inside word” in the 1980s? I was growing up in Berkeley at the time, and you’d think if that phrase was said anywhere that would be a pretty likely place, but I didn’t hear it until much later.

I think a little creative license allows room to include a more current term. While I’ve heard the term ‘inside voice’, I’ve never heard ‘inside word’.

This is fun. But who’s the market? While the art style is very cute and points towards an appeal to children, the stories have more of an adult/young adult theme. I’m not sure if that really matters or not. Curious to read others’ opinion.

The market is teens and above. I think a good chunk of the market is likely adults roughly Crute’s age who lived through a similar time period.

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