By Leroy Douresseaux
April 25, 2007 - 13:26
I Love Led Zeppelin collects a vast array of work from cartoonist and graphic artist Ellen Forney, some of it going back to 1994 and some of it as recent as 2004. Published in 2006, this book of short stories and short pieces has recently received a 2007 Eisner Award nomination in the category of “Best Reality-Based Work.”
I think that’s as good as any category for Ms. Forney’s work, which is a blend of various real-life scenarios presented as fanciful or whimsical or practical and informative. Some of the stories are simply straight dramatic or comedic pieces. The book is divided into four sections, a move that is not at all arbitrary. While reading this book, it dawned on me that I was just coming to the realization that R. Crumb isn’t the only cartoonist capable of using the one-, two,- and three-pagers to tell stories 1001 different ways.
The first section of I Love Led Zeppelin, the “How To’s,” is a collection of one-pagers that are practical guides to things that either all of us should know or quite a few of us need to know. Here’s one for everybody: “How to Tip Your Server,” which Forney composes with the assistance of an actual waitress/server. For select readers, there is “How to Become a Successful Call Girl!” done in conjunction with Tracy Quan, author of Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl. Something to know – have condoms in all sizes!
I Love Led Zeppelin is a mosaic and feast of autobio tales, recollections of strange encounters (Forney’s brush with Camille Paglia and a friend’s encounter with Tom Waits), and delightfully engaging collaborations. Some of these collabo’s are like feature articles, in which Forney is the journalist turning the subjects’ stories into cartoon feature articles (the best being Dan Savage’s “My First Time”). I think that the Eisner Awards committee and voters got it right this time because anyone who reads I Love Led Zeppelin can’t help but fall in love with at least a few things in this delightful tome. Encore! Encore!