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New book 'Sweet Little Cunt' explores the work of bad-ass comic creator Julie Doucet

Anne Elizabeth Moore celebrates the work of Julie Doucet.

Anne Elizabeth Moore celebrates the work of Julie Doucet. Courtesy of the author

Cultural critic, comic-book journalist, and comics artist Anne Elizabeth Moore stops by Moon Palace this Friday to read and discuss her latest book, Sweet Little Cunt: The Graphic Work of Julie Doucet. Moore wanted to write on the 1990s cartoonist because, well, no one had ever written an entire book about a female comics artist (in English, at least), and she felt it was well past time that someone did.  

Moore grew up in St. Paul in the '80s, before there was a huge indie comic scene in the Twin Cities. "I became obsessed with Lynda Berry and Matt Groening and all the comics that were feeding my perverse childhood career desires," Moore says. "But it wasn’t until I moved to Madison, Wisconsin, in 1991 that I found the first comic of Julie Doucet."  

Moore responded viscerally to Doucet's work. “She was writing about punk clubs. She was writing about dudes being assholes. She was writing about people trying to get in her space, which kept her from doing work. I was like, ‘Holy shit! This is the first form of media that really feels like it speaks to my experience in the world,'" says Moore. "And it was funny as hell and incredibly well drawn. I would say if I hadn't found that, I wouldn't have continued to work in comics for the ensuing 30 years or however long it's been."  

Doucet stopped making comics around the early '00s (she’s still alive today), but a 2018 release of her work by Drawn and Quarterly, Dirty Plotte: The Complete Julie Doucet, has sparked a renewed interest in her contributions to the comics canon. 

Moore knew that with the new release, Doucet was sure to receive critical attention. But she also suspected that none of it was going to include the perspectives of female comic critics—some of whom have been working in the field as long as Doucet had been making comics. That was a driving force for this release. 

"It really took me thinking through why that was actually important before I was like, ‘Yeah, let's do this,’" Moore says.

Julie Doucet

Julie Doucet

A historiography, Sweet Little Cunt examines Doucet's work as well as the comic book industry and the particular brand of masculinity of that world. "What comics do, more than other forms of media, is favor a certain kind of masculine voice," she says. 

As someone who has been immersed in the comics industry for decades, including running her own collaborative, the Lady Drawers Comic Collective, Moore is well aware of the challenges that women face as comic-book writers, artists, and critics. 

Sweet Little Cunt is partly about why Doucet left the field. 

“Part of the book was about explaining that a little bit," Moore says. "One of the reasons that Doucet [left the industry] was not so much that she was getting harassed or treated poorly, but that she was just tired of hanging around guys all the time. The other reason was purely economic. There's never really been that much money in the comics industry."  

You can take a deep dive into Doucet's writing when you pick up a copy of Sweet Little Cunt yourself. It's been nominated for an Eisner Award, which will announce winners later this month. 


IF YOU GO:

Anne Elizabeth Moore
7 p.m. Friday, July 12
Free
Moon Palace Books
3032 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis