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Just So You Know

First issue of a 40-page self-published comic, 2009.

Category: autobiography, humor, transgender.

Author(s): Joey Alison Sayers.

Joey answers the Big Question

Joey Alison Sayers is a transgendered cartoonist who's transitioned from male to female, and relates episodes of her journey in this wonderful comic, which collects stories ranging from one-pagers to a seven-page overview of her 2003 to 2008 evolution from announcing himself (at the time) as a crossdresser to finally deciding she's a transsexual, and beginning to take hormones, all the while being accompanied by her girlfriend, who loved Joey as a man and still loves her as a woman. Now, that's love.
The comic opens with Joey coming out as a transgendered person to her parents in August 2007 (all the strips are dated, which is useful for the reader to get an idea of the amount of time passing), with her father reacting in a unexpected way. What follows is a series of stories which deal with her early days as a transgender person, when people began to wonder less and less whether they had a man or a woman in front of them, leading to a rise in Joey's self-confidance. The strips are an impressive blend of gentle humor and pointed observations, where the author questions other people's convictions and her own doubts and reactions.
While the tone of the stories and the writing are both very good, the quality of the cartooning is what for me makes this comic a complete success: those noseless, almost minimalist characters carry a lot of weight, and this style tending toward simplicity is in my opinion a great way to approach difficult subject matters. While the characters are all very recognizable (especially Joey and her girlfriend Sarah), the reader empathizes all the more with these people as they show few facial traits. The use of grays of various textures and intensity also brings warmth and depth to the scenes--the comic itself is very well printed and is a quite good-looking object. This all feels very real.
The author announces on her site that she's working on a second issue of Just So You Know. I can say I look forward to reading it, because this first one convinced me of her talent.

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