I first noticed Julia Wertz's graphic novel Drinking at the Movies late last year while skimming lists of the best books of 2010. When I took a closer look, the titles of Wertz's earlier comics, The Fart Party Volumes 1 and 2, intrigued me. As Mario Anima of FanboyPlanet.com put it, "Lets be frank here, farts and party together at last? I’m there."
Actually, as a blurb at the end of Drinking at the Movies points out, "The Fart Party Volumes 1 and 2 have nothing to do with farts or parties." Rather, Wertz's autobiographical comics detail her relationships during her 20's, her low-paying jobs, her move from San Francisco to Brooklyn, and her developing artwork.
"I came up with the name 'Fart Party' when my boyfriend couldn't stop farting," Wertz told the SFist in 2006. "I suggested we throw a party and fill the balloons with farts. When we want people to leave, we pop the balloons. A lot of people don't like the name 'Fart Party.' But that's okay 'cause I don't like a lot of people."
In a slightly more conciliatory tone today, Wertz uses the title Museum of Mistakes: The Comic Formerly and Regrettably Known as 'The Fart Party' on her website at http://www.juliawertz.com/.
Julia Wertz's comics are as good, if not better, than a lot of contemporary literature. Los Angeles Times Book Critic David L. Ulin calls Wertz's work "funny and outrageous, but also serious, since what Wertz is tracing is the difficulty of knowing how to live." He says it's "a quiet triumph, a portrait of the artist in the act of becoming, a story with heart and soul."
Personally, I like Wertz because she eats cheese in front of an open fridge, refers to current affairs as "nooze," and thinks the public library is "one of the top five places to kick it."
But most of all, I'm a fan of Julia Wertz because she creates art out of ordinary, everyday experiences, and she makes it look so easy, as if anyone could do the same.
~Mike, Adult Services