July 16, 2010 at 10:09 am By:

I have been obsessed with Erika Moen‘s work ever since I was exposed to her at this past HeroesCon. I picked up the second volume of DAR! and literally could not put it down. It is engaging and funny and strongly illustrated. This volume collects her web strips from 2009. She also reprints some older work and some bonus stories. After reading volume two I went to her website and read pretty much every one of her strips. In about a day. She is a highly entertaining cartoonist and I can’t recommend her work enough.

The official title of her web strip (DAR! A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary) is amusing and intentionally misleading. She isn’t what I would call a “girly” girl. And the strip isn’t appropriate for young girls. Moen’s work is intended for a mature audience. There are lots of references, jokes and images that are not appropriate for children or work. But the strip is a window into her life and it looks in on her most secret moments. It is the truth for her as a girl. This strip is all about her life experiences. It is very personal and very open. Some of the strips I feel like she is laying her life bare before the audience and yet she does it with humor and wit. Her work is all about balance. Her strips can be crass and baudy and yet at the same time they are sweet and endearing. I find her work to be completely relatable. I see myself in her. We don’t have a similar life story but I think that when you imbue your work with honesty then it is easy for people to relate to it, even if their life is vastly different from yours. Her artwork greatly enhances her stories. Her artwork is engaging and her characters are easily recognizable. She uses a lot of gray-tones which help give it depth and life. Her website contains six years worth of her strips and you can really see her develop as an artist and a storyteller in her ability to flesh out stories.

Almost a year ago she stopped doing DAR! and she explains why in the strip on the website’s homepage. I am disappointed that she is no longer doing a diary comic but I am excited to see what she is working on next. I have already begun the hunt for more of Moen’s work. I went to Portland, OR a couple weeks ago and while I was there I stopped by a couple comic book shops. At Cosmic Monkey Comics I found a mini that she did with Lucy Knisley called Drawn to You. I really liked the way that the two of them worked off of each other. It was a really fun read. She is a talented storyteller and I want to read more of her work!


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