Late to the party again… but life (and laziness!) gets in the way… anyway… last year, near the end of the summer, Donald M. Grant published the first-ever all-in-one collection of two comic strips by Jeffrey Jones: Idyl, which originally ran in National Lampoon in the 1970s, and I’m Age, which ran in Heavy Metal in the early 1980s.
I received my two hardcover copies of the collection in the autumn of 2015 — I ordered from Amazon.com as neither the hardcover nor the softcover edition was unavailable through Amazon.ca, although I suppose I could have ordered directly from the publisher, which would have netted me a complimentary copy of Jones’s cartoon book, It’s Garbage Coming — and now I’m here to let you know that I have one complaint and one concern about the book.
My complaint is that Grant has failed to include one of the I’m Age strips in the new collection and instead of going back to press to correct the error has been encouraging buyers to download a JPEG of the strip via a link on the order page, print it off at home, and slip it into the book, which I’ve done, of course, though I’m not happy about it. The overall number of strips is small. Was it really such a difficult task to create a complete, master list of strips and proofread the collection accordingly? Mistakes happen, sure. And yes, yes, going back to press to correct a publisher’s error (vs. a printer’s error) would have been prohibitively expensive. But COME ON!!!
My concern is that the introductory and other text in the collection completely ignores Jones’s struggle, in later years, to claim a more authentic identity for herself as a woman. No mention, even, of the name change from Jeffrey Jones to Jeffrey Catherine Jones. Now, Jeffrey Catherine Jones was, by all accounts, perfectly content to let her old friends continue to refer to her as Jeffrey, and of course, the major collection of her art published during her lifetime, with her participation, after she began her transition, bore the title, Jeffrey Jones: A Life in Art. Still, it seems wrong to me for Jones’s “friends” to act, now (or then), as though Jeffrey *Catherine* Jones never existed! The omission is especially egregious in George Pratt’s “Afterword,” which recounts an outing that was filmed, in part, by Maria Paz Cabardo for her documentary, Better Things: The Life and Choices of Jeffrey Catherine Jones. If you’ve seen the footage, you know very well what I’m talking about!
In fact, I think a strong case could be made that, far from being irrelevant to the strips, Jones’s ongoing gender-identity struggle was central to them. Pity that neither Jones’s publisher nor her friends were ready, willing, or able to imagine the possibility!
Anyway, I do love the work. And I do recommend the book, because the sad fact is, it’s the only game in town if you want to have two of Jones’s three major comic strips available in your non-virtual library in a convenient format at a reasonable cost.