It's a Good Life, If You Don't Weaken

Writer(s): Seth
Artist(s): Seth
Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly
ISBN: 978-1896597706
Price: $24.95
Page count: 176
Year Released: 1996
Status: in print
Original Source: Palooka-ville 4-9
Other Collected Edition(s): n/a
Genres: autobiography; history of comics; slice of life
Recommended for Fans Of:
Possible Objectionable Material: very brief instances of nudity and coarse language
If You Like This Book, Try:
Also in This Series: n/a

Plot Summary
This semiautobiographical tale explores Seth's preoccupation with Canadian and American popular culture of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Perennially dressed in the style of a 1940s businessman (complete with jacket, tie, and fedora), Seth is the kind of guy who loathes contemporary culture. Preferring things "the way they were," Seth often gets depressed, lives within his childhood memories, and tends to collect things from a time before he was born, including old magazines and vintage 78 records. While looking through an issue of the New Yorker from 1951 Seth stumbles upon a cartoon that particularly intrigues him. From there, It's a Good Life follows Seth's quest to discover as much as he can about an obscure gag cartoonist by the name of Kalo.

My Own 2 Cents
It's a Good Life is a beautiful, understated book that seems to have been created in the very era that Seth loves so much. The book's cartoony, 1950s-style illustrations (not to mention the duotone coloring printed on offwhite paper) underscore Seth's aesthetic proclivities and might even lead the reader to agree with the author that things were truly better in the early twentieth century than they are now. As a work of autobiography, Seth's It's a Good Life is not as brutally honest (or uncensored) as the work of his fellow Canadians and friends Joe Matt and Chester Brown (who appears in this book, often as Seth's sounding board), but he doesn't pull punches when it comes to describing himself as hopelessly lost in the past, and as a not particularly giving boyfriend. But I could easily recommend this book to just about anyone, whereas the works of Matt and Brown would be far more tentatively recommended.