Notables 2010: Gary Sullivan’s Am I Emo

Gary Sullivan, Am I Emo? (read online!), Poetry Magazine, 2009.

Gary Sullivan is a rare breed: a poet who makes comics, treating them as part of his larger not un-controversial poetic project. “Am I Emo?”, which appeared in the Poetry Foundation‘s flagship magazine, exemplifies the Flarf movement he named and co-founded: the text is generated from Google searches of the words “emo” and “poetry”. These snippets are arranged to suggest (though only vaguely) a kind of discourse, then are incorporated into panels re-arranged and redrawn from cheap Thai comic books that Gary collects. The result is a hilarious and maddening mash-up. Is it comics? poetry? both? neither? The answer is not obvious but it probably depends on your own notions of what “comics”, “poetry”, and visual storytelling are. If this comic makes you question your assumptions a bit, then maybe it’s already proved its value.

Age: college

What is this “Notable” thing all about? Matt and Jessica are the series editors for the Best American Comics, and are responsible for the Notable Comics list at the back of the book, which is comprised of virtually all the comics we sent to the guest editor that weren’t picked, as well as a number of others that we think are noteworthy for various reasons, but that we didn’t send to the guest editor.

We’ve always hoped readers will delve a bit into the list to find more great stories once they finish reading BAC. Realistically, though, we know that’s tough. What can you know about a story from a title and author? So this is one of a series of posts focusing on each of the Notables from the 2010 Best American Comics.

Have or know of a comic we should look at? Find submission info here.

The “age” suggestion is what we think might be the minimum age for reading and appreciating a work. All works on the list, though, should appeal to older audiences too. It’s a minimum suggestion only.



1 Comment to Notables 2010: Gary Sullivan’s Am I Emo

  • by Jarod Rosello

    On April 18, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Oddly thoughtful and hilarious. More and more, I think comics are an experiment in making meaning. Cartooning-as-searching.

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