This note accompanies the follow episode(s):
The Writer’s Almanac for November 15, 2017: Bell Bottoms and Platform Shoes

November 15, 2017: birthday: Jessica Abel

It’s the birthday of American cartoonist Jessica Abel (books by this author), born in Chicago, Illinois (1969). She’s the creator of comics like Life Sucks and La Perdida (2008), which details an American’s life in Mexico City. In the story, one character says, “In gringolandia you have irony for everything, so you can look at it and know what to think.” With This American Life host Ira Glass, she co-wrote Radio: An Illustrated Guide (1999), a comic book that explains how to make a public radio program. She once called her comics a mash-up of “Jane Austen plus Günter Grass plus Cormac McCarthy.”

Abel started out self-publishing her comic books by making photocopies and sometime hand-sewing her work, like Artbabe (1992). Trish Trash is a comic about a roller derby girl on a future colony of Mars.

Jessica Abel calls herself “a super narrative geek.” She says: “In a lot of ways, my story is all about investigating story. I love finding systems, strategies, and tools that allow me to make the strongest stories possible. It helps that I’m intense and long-sighted, with a gift for understanding deep narrative structure.”