Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2020 May 06 • Wednesday

This book has been out for a while but I just came across it: Glitz-2-Go, a collection of comics by Diane Noomin.

This is an intense collection of brilliant work. Much of it apears to be autofiction while some of it is clearly fantasy and other parts clearly autobiography.

Noomin's creation of DiDi Glitz is a fabulous and indefatigable character navigating the turbulent waters of a certain section of '60s and '70s culture, a collision of relaxation of sexual mores and the entrance into the mainstream of feminist thought and various counter-cultural ideas and behaviours, set against a background of more conservative, suburban, old-fashioned styles and practices, often specifically Jewish New Yorkish.

That's probably not a great description but there's so much going on in Noomin's work that any attempt at encapsulation is probably doomed.

The writing is perfect and the voices clear and strong but this is a visual medium that, for me, lives and dies by the quality of the artwork on the page. Noomin the artist is at least as good as Noomin the writer. You almost never see work with this much depth, complexity and detail.

Consider the depth of field in this panel, as well as the varied patterns and textures and contrasts, and marvel at the balanced and controlled composition.

If this reminds me of anything, it's the famous Yasujiro Ozu approach to filming domestic scenes, with the camera in one room, filming action in another room in front of the camera, with a third background room visible behind it.

It's notable how the characters' height increases from left to right, and DiDi's daughter is giving a Bronx cheer to the obvious jerk that Didi is apparently hoping will turn out to be a good guy with enough encouragement.

This search for love and companionship and emotional security and acceptance is the bedrock of many of the stories in this book.

DiDi Glitz puts up a really good front of but her encounters with men are almost always, at best, disappointing. This point is made very powerfully in one panel where we see tears running down DiDi's cheek after yet another night of being used for sex.

DiDi doesn't always have much luck with women either, beyond her closest friends. She has a dismaying encounter with a lesbian woman and doesn't fit in with a women's group that she tries joining.

Noomin has been through the wringer herself, of course, and for some especially painful experiences, the creator is dragged onto the page by her creation.

This story, about having no fewer than four miscarriages while trying to have as child, is devastating. And Noomin is as much in control of telling it and creating great art from it as she is everywhere else in this book.

The comics hall of fame should have Diane Noomin right up front for her highly original and breathtaking work. This is one of the best collections of the artform that I've ever seen.