David Chelsea In Love TP Autobiography NM 1st print


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David Chelsea in Love Paperback
by David Chelsea (Author)

David Chelsea in Love is the hilariously true story of cartoonist and illustrator David Chelsea’s improbable love affair with Minnie, a would-be actress, in 1980s New York. Based in New York City, David meets Minnie on one of his frequent bus trips back (hey, the bus is cheap) to his hometown of Portland, Oregon to spawn. You see, David can’t get laid in New York. The only women he meets in New York are art directors_ and they know exactly how much an illustrator is paid. But Minnie’s not easy. In fact she’s profoundly and comically difficult. She’s tall, gawky, absurdly neurotic and saddled with an abusive boyfriend. None of this matters to David who believes_ against all odds_ that Minnie is the only girl for him. This is the true story of their cross-country “courtship,” as well as the story of their idiosyncratic cast of friends and relatives. David Chelsea in Love is a strange and very funny look at the lives of the young, the talented, and the semi-talented in New York City’s East Village.

“David Chelsea in Love isn’t just a funny, lurid and insightful bare-all comic book, it also teaches a very valuable lesson: never sleep with an autobiographical cartoonist.” Matt Groening.

Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Reed Graphica

The book is about young David, aspiring illustrator in Manhattan from Portland in the ’80s, pretentious and needy and horny, age 20 going on 45. (Autobio-review note: I first saw this book when I was 20 and in Manhattan, but after one look, I couldn’t stand to read it; I identified too much, except he knew how to get laid a lot.) The “love” in the title is pretty much sex and arguments, with a series of careless and/or damaged women – almost everyone David knows is as selfish as he is, though some of them have a better grasp of the world. He bounces around between cities and beds and is constantly surprised by betrayals the reader sees coming a mile away, including his own. Once he gets into something like a feasible relationship, the book slows down and then leaves off in a hurry, with a postscript to let you know he’s now wiser and married.

This is all nearly as awful as it sounds, except that it’s extremely well written and drawn, and funny – basically a compassionate-but-merciless satire of a particular floating world, a little like Martin Amis’s The Rachel Papers and nearly as good, lacking only a plot. Chelsea has a great ear for dialogue, using it to sketch out the characters right away, and as obnoxious as they are, he gives you enough of their point of view to make it more than just “David vs. the Crazy Girls.” And even without a plot, there’s a good sense of time going by as other people in his crowd move on with their lives. It’s all well supported by the art, which looked unusual then and still does: realistic and precise with a great individuality to the faces and bodies and environments, and skillfully laid out, but just unpolished enough to make it look like something made in an obsessive spree by a young guy not sure of what tools to use.

In one funny scene that might or might not have been intended as self-satire, David tries to sell an early version of his comic to a magazine that’s clearly supposed to be Spiegelman’s Raw, and he can’t understand why those snotty elitists won’t publish his work. He doesn’t get that they’re just doing a totally different thing – his story would’ve looked ridiculously out of place in Raw. But there was a lot of that mistake going around then, the idea that “good comics” was just one big genre that would all fit together somehow. I’m glad it’s not like that, and if misfit critters may hop out of the weeds with just one story to tell, I say bring them on.

Near mint, 1st print.