Review: I Cut My Hair #3 by Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg

Eisenberg’s clean-line style is a real treat. Her line is fluid and sensitive enough to define volumes and express facial expressions and gestures, and precise and controlled enough for some virtuoso architectural drawing (especially the sequence in the Forbidden City). There’s little or no shading (when she shades, she uses a broken-line haching that works nicely) and the pages have a clean, inviting look, with the few solid blacks generated by the characters’ dark hair or other small details. Her characters are distinctive, both in facial features and body type. Printed at 8.5 x 11, the scale of this “mini” gives the art room to be appreciated fully.

“I Cut My Hair” #3 is pretty much straight journal/auto-bio comic, relating the protagonist’s trip to Beijing to visit her boyfriend in 2009. It provides the bare-bones pleasures of the genre: a little glimpse into other lives, a little informative travelogue, some good descriptions of their various meals. Beyond that, it’s not exactly thrilling drama; a pervasive sense of ‘niceness’ (there’s really no conflict here at all, with the exception of an unpleasant cab ride), is both the strength and weakness of the writing. Though minimally eventful, at 36 pages, the narrative doesn’t drag; once you give yourself over to an understated, day-by-day account of her travel, the leisurely pace and sense of completeness to the story is welcome.

Story-wise, this isn’t much more than pleasant, likeable stuff — told with clarity — but Eisenberg’s beautiful artwork tips the balance strongly in favor of this comic.

36 pages, black and white, stapled.

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