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Normel Person
posted March 6, 2018

imageCreator: Lauren Weinstein
Publishing Information: Self-Published, mini-comic, 40 pages, full-color glossy, September 2017, $10.
Ordering Numbers:

This is the bulk of Lauren Weinstein's work as one of the final Village Voice print cartoonists, a position she held from late 2016 to and through that publication's 2017 move to digital. This was a gig that I helped initiate for her in a consulting role in a very modest way, which I share with you to let you know I am probably one of the ten people in the world least able to give you a fair opinion of this book's content. And yet as much of this as might all be tendentious horseshit, let me do some of you the favor of letting you know this publication exists.

It's a sign of the times that a work appearing in the Voice, for decades the pole-position of the alt-weekly cartoon race day line-up, can so quickly be reduced to a cartoonist's personal store, one of thousands on-line. This is one good-looking book, though, glossy and slick and colorful like a soon-to-be-cleaned carp. I spent more time with Normel Person than any single comic I read this week. It's worth the price. Weinstein took full advantage with her VV gig in the use of color and the ability to employ a breadth of visual strategies. There's a bit of casting around, and a little bit more of stunned anger, barely processed, at the political outcomes squirming to our collective foreground, but firmly connecting these strips is a mother's matter-of-fact concern for a shift in the world's priorities as her family of three becomes four.

There's a lot that's funny in Normel Person. The best cartoons lumber off in unintended directions in a way that thwarts easy catharsis. Question followed by shouted second question trumps questions followed by answer. Weinstein has a knack for sympathetic confusion. My main takeaway is that no matter the approach, no matter the opinion expressed, no matter how she herself is portrayed, Weinstein has the great comedian's knack for communicating her essential decency. I want to know the next Normel Person strip because I want to know more about what Lauren Weinstein thinks. I hope Normel Person survives any and all format changes to come, at least until she's done giving this work to us.