Carol Lay has been one of the more brilliant cartoonists who've been producing both "underground" comics work (in the likes of Weirdo, Wimmin's Comix and her own title, Good Girls) and syndicated strips, notably her Story Minute (which she retitled Way Lay eventually), which ran for nearly two decades in the now vanishing breed of alternate papers (she wrapped it up in 2008, in fact, because the likes of the City Papers around the country were cutting back on their comics budgets...the Philadelphia City Paper, where I once called out editor Duane Swierczynski on a bit of editorial/advertising hypocrisy, just folded earlier this month after 34 years, several months after being sold to the publishers of the Metro chain of daily papers). Her primary gig over the last decade or so has been at Simpsons Comics, aimed a bit younger than the work she's continued to do in other venues. The heirs to Jules Feiffer in the tabloids that have been the heirs to The Village Voice around the country have included no lack of remarkable talent, ranging from Matt Groening (who was doing well with Life in Hell well before becoming a millionaire via The Simpsons), through Lynda Barry, Alison Bechdel, Charles Burns, and Chris Ware to, with his The Angriest Dog in the World, filmmaker David Lynch.
Illiterature was the first of a planned series of collections of Story Minute/Way Lay strips, and here's a quick sample of how they run (please click to enlarge):
...and this, which leads off this volume:
By me, her wry, offhanded mixture of surreal, criminous and fantasticated concepts, grounded in small compasses, are irresistible, and I'm glad she's returned to doing longer-form work (the self-published Murderville) and a regular strip, Lay Lines, on GoComics.
For more on today's books, please see Patti Abbott's blog.