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Description - My Brain is Hanging Upside Down by David Heatley

What if you wrote and drew a comic strip that honestly depicted every sexual experience you ever had, from junior school (don't ask) to last week (ditto)? It would force you to re-examine your life in ways that would make your shrink blush. In 2004, that's exactly what David Heatley did, and called it (what else) 'My Sexual History'. It originally appeared in an obscure comics anthology called Kramer's Ergot, which was nevertheless given a starred review by "Publisher's Weekly", which singled out the strip and remarked that it was 'page after page of tiny, crudely rendered but wincingly remembered incidents'. And what else to follow that up with than 'Black History', which chronicles every African-American he ever encountered, whether it was Lennie from daycare who taught him the N-word, or the artist's impressions of Michael Jackson's Thriller. All of it rendered in, um, black and white.So make no mistake - David Heatley is anything but withholding. Quite the opposite. But the great surprise is that he's not simply playing for shock effect either. He's just trying to tell you what happened as succinctly and colourfully as he can, whether it was in a dream or at a game of group Strip Pig in his friend's basement. Which ended in a sort of awkward, slow-motion orgy. These things happen. "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down" (which gleans its title from the refrain of a song by the Ramones, FYI) marks the start of a brilliant cartooning career.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780224085380
ISBN-10: 0224085387
Format: Hardback
(312mm x 212mm x 17mm)
Pages: 128
Imprint: Jonathan Cape Ltd
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 2-Oct-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions - My Brain is Hanging Upside Down by David Heatley

Book Reviews - My Brain is Hanging Upside Down by David Heatley

US Kirkus Review » Cartoonist Heatley explores his family history, relationships with his parents, sexuality and racism.Thanks in large part to the work of luminaries like Art Spiegelman and Chris Ware, autobiographical (or semi-autobiographical) comics have become a popular means for insightfully self-aware artists to depict revelatory moments in their lives, a tradition Heatley carries on in his debut collection. At first glance, the often crudely drawn figures, condensed into sometimes maddeningly repetitive panels, give the impression of caricature, particularly in scenes depicting far-out dream sequences and in a prolonged chapter detailing each sexual encounter of the author's life, which run the gamut from innocent summer-camp smooches to graphic bisexual explorations. A closer reading, however, reveals the depth of Heatley's insight into his own character and, by extension, society at large. An unflinching, occasionally awkward chapter illustrating the author's relationship with black friends and acquaintances showcases the struggle of a white man whose love and respect for black music and culture elicits a range of reactions, from true acceptance and brotherhood to outright hostility and righteous indignation. While the aforementioned sections and subsequent meditations on the author's relationships with his divorced parents are uneven in their efforts to convey larger themes and insights, the concluding chapter, "Kin," is a marvel of storytelling economy. By turns touching and comical, it takes the seemingly mundane history of a typical American family and turns it into a mini-epic, a rivetingly intimate narrative that does far more than convey the history of how Heatley's great-grandparents came together - it also serves as a microcosm of what makes the combination of text and art so well-suited to the autobiographical genre.Consistently engaging and occasionally self-indulgent, with sporadic moments of excellence. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - David Heatley

DAVID HEATLEY is a cartoonist, illustrator and musician living in Queens, New York, with his wife and two children. His work has appeared in McSweeney's, The Best American Comics of 2006 and 2007, The New Yorker and the Op-Ed page of The New York Times.

Books By David Heatley

Otis Dooda by David Heatley
Paperback / softback, May 2015
Otis Dooda: Downright Dangerous by David Heatley
Hardback, March 2014