I Love Led-Zeppelin: Panty-Dropping Comics By Ellen Forney

August 12th, 2008 by

After reading this book, I’ve decided that I love Ellen Forney.

This collection of her short and endearing comics is both clever and just incredibly fun. About the first fourth of the book is dedicated to her “How To” series, in which she “sets to comic” someone (presumably an expert) giving advice about something. Some notable examples are how to become a call girl, how to avoid getting caught while smoking pot, and how to twirl your pasties (in alternating directions, even). The rest of the comics are split up into rather arbitrary sections called “More Short Comics”, ’92-’94, and Collaborations. Everything in the book is good, but in very different ways. It felt to me like the main thread holding the entire work together is Ellen Forney’s finely crafted sense of humor.

I’ve been meaning to write this review for weeks now, which is really more a reflection of how good the book was to me than anything else. I wanted to make sure I did it some kind of justice. But I’m sort of just giving up trying to live up to the book with my review. That way lies madness. I’ll admit though, that I wasn’t really all that excited to read the book at first. I probably wouldn’t have even bothered if not for having seen some of the naked girls over Florence’s shoulder while she was reading. Well, that and the provocative subtitle. And while yes, there is some nudity featured here, this really wasn’t the lesbian erotica that I expected. At least, not most of it.

Ellen Forney and I Love Led-Zeppelin are both mentioned by name in the first chapter of Reading Comics, by Douglas Wolk as an example of why right now is really the golden age of comic books (rather than the 1940s and early 1950s). I agree with his assessment. This comic book, and others like it, are proud testaments to the greatness that a single comic book creator can produce in this era. There are many reasons to read this book, (for one thing you might learn something), but deciding you want to see why Douglas Wolk thinks this is the golden age of comics isn’t a bad one to start with.

It’s not like you need more reasons to love Ellen Forney, but she also has a pretty sweet blog, where she posts used to post her “Lustlab Ad of the Week” comics. These are were little comic renditions of personals ads printed in The Stranger (a Seattle newspaper). She’s only just announced that the series was cut. They were (at least some of them) also collected into a book called Lust last fall. Newsarama has an interview with Forney about the collection.

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2 Responses to “I Love Led-Zeppelin: Panty-Dropping Comics By Ellen Forney”

  1. Susie Says:

    I first discovered Ellen Forney by seeking out her collection “I was seven in ’75” which was name checked in a book about girlcentric comics. It is much more PG than this collection, but the humor and masterfull art are the same. It is a collection of vignettes from her childhood in the seventies.

  2. florence Says:

    Marty should have mentioned that this book was borrowed from Susie during our visit to Chicago, so we have her to thank for reading it. I loved it, and kept reading bits out loud to Marty and leaving it out in hopes that guests would notice and check it out. It has so many short vignettes that it’s very accessible and easy to digest in small chunks (unlike many comics that require the commitment of huge arcs).

    My favorite parts were the collaborations with Dan Savage near the end. He doesn’t share his personal stories during his advice column or podcast, so I really enjoyed the glimpses into his past.

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