An assortment of comics, some autobiographical, from cartoonist Julia Kaye.
Notes on This Title
Up and Out is a series which encompasses both one-off gag strips, and a series of autobiographical comics depicting the creator’s life.
Super Late Bloomer collects a number of strips dealing with the creator’s transition.
2018 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Collection - Nominee
Starred Review: “Cartoonist and Disney artist Kaye’s debut collection is a series of complementary contradictions: blunt yet precise; straightforward but nuanced; simple but beautiful. A collection of Kaye’s first autobiographical strips from her once-absurdist, now rawly honest webcomic Up and Out, this work follows Kaye, a transgender woman, through part of her tumultuous first year on hormone replacement therapy and the social, physical, and mental shifts that accompanied that change. Reading what is effectively Kaye’s diary, it’s nearly impossible not to empathize with her story, especially given her wide-eyed, inviting style of cartooning, which recalls elements of Bill Amend’s Foxtrot. Over five months’ worth of strips, readers witness Kaye deal with an estranged family member, acclimate to new pronouns, heal and grow from a breakup, and develop a greater appreciation of her own unique beauty. Regardless of a reader’s own orientation or identity, there are universal points of recognition and inspiration in Kaye’s frank and open telling. While repackaged web strips don’t always translate well to book form, the accumulation of quotidian moments creates a greater whole in this volume. Kaye skillfully and effectively relates the daily indignities borne by trans women and the triumphs and quiet joys as well. Her tenacity in this hopeful story will be resonant for readers going through personal transitions of many kinds.” (Source: Publishers Weekly)
“Graphic memoirs are nothing new, and they have been a dominant mode for many transgender comics. But Kaye’s comic diary is novel. She blends the self-expressive introspection of a memoir with the piecemeal, quotidian thoughts of newspaper strips. Almost every installment of Super Late Bloomer (there are two exceptions) consists of three panels and rarely, if ever, does a strip end with any resolution. Matching human thought, Kaye’s strips linger without summation. Only once one has read the whole collection does any underlying connection between these ostensibly disparate strips become clear, that Super Late Bloomer not only documents Kaye’s transition from male to female, but the accompanying transition from isolating self-hate to self-acceptance. Mirroring this coming-of-age story, readers will notice a visual künstlerroman, Kaye’s own coming to maturity as an artist. Compare the first and last strips of the collection. Her panel lines straighten and her style cleans up. This artistic transformation is both gradual and subtle, nigh imperceptible, but so is the journey to self-acceptance. In this way, Kaye’s comic diary harbors the undergirding theme of all diaries: self-growth. Super Late Bloomer documents Kaye’s growth as transgender, human, and cartoonist.” (Source: The Comics Journal)
Smash Pages: “Julia Kaye on ‘Super Late Bloomer“