Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust


Before I continue I want to say I'm sorry for the lack of updates from my side. I've been sick and I rarely get sick but when I do, it hits me like a ton of bricks. So, hopefully, I'll be updating more recently.

I remember when I per-ordered this comic, I knew nothing anything about the creator. But I was excited about reading it because it sounded like it was right up my alley. I also liked that it was a four hundred plus pages; I needed a brick of a comic to read. And I was right. Lust does an amazing job capturing a not so typical coming-of-age road story and youthful indiscretions. It also has one of the best intros ever.

 Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life tells the story of Ulli Lust, as an 17 year old "anarchist" punk, hanging out with friends, dodging boneheads (you'd call them skinheads but I hate using that term to describe white supremacists, because the skinhead movement is apolitical, working class and came from reggae roots that hit the UK scene but I digress) and living a somewhat care free life. She meets another girl named Edi and talk about traveling from Austria and to Sicily, Italy. After that talk, we read their adventures from Vienna, Austria to Sicily, Italy. It's an adventure that takes many twists and turns and in which life brutally steps in and teaches the young ladies some harsh lessons. Sometimes it takes a while, especially for Edi, for those lesson to sink in but when they do, they are a bit wiser than they were before. Also, along the way they meet a ton of unique individuals with a rich background but they also meet a ton of shitbags.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8245/8660828389_541a32527e_z.jpg Those shitbags play an important part of the story because they are in the front of the story and they shape the young ladies' adventures. I call them shitbags because they are heavily sexist with only sex in mind and most of them are predators/rapists. The comic touches on some heavy issues, especially since theses are two young ladies traveling by themselves. They prey of these two young ladies because they know they're traveling with almost no money and no place to sleep. So they use their money and houses as bargaining chips: I'll give you food or money or a bed if you sleep with me; this is something we read constantly and fuck, it weighs on you and you're the reader. Think if you're Lust or Edi, and how living in such a places takes a toll on you. It gets to the point where Lust is blaming herself because she was raped or have been used so much. Almost a majority of the men they come across uses them only for sex, and can't take no for an answer and they do force themselves on them, especially on Lust. They move on Lust because most men view her as a ideal woman: beautiful, nice breasts, nice hips and with some meat to her and that's how see her. These type of interactions come out most from the men in Italy. We can see that it's a highly patriarchal society and that women aren't seen as humans and Lust and Edi get treated as such; it's sad and disheartening.

When she's not touching on harassment, she's talks about the violence that's always underneath, ever ready to strike out at her, whether it be physical, emotional, mentally, or sexually. And the heavy drug use that seems to be a secondary thing to life of the characters she comes across. And the male-female interactions that run her life and how that interacts with her and how it changes her. Sometimes it a good interaction but mostly, it's something that shows a distinct line between genders.What I mean by that is, that most the males view themselves as being better than females and their way they carry themselves and force that on Lust is damning.

Though it talks about a lot of heavy issues, it's still a funny comic and as you read along you're cheering for Lust and Edi to make it to Sicily and that nothing else happens to them. And Lust does a great job bring these interactions and characters to life with her artwork. she has a thin loose (well somewhat) line that's able to express multitude of things, from expressions to locations to subtle nuanced facial expressions or emotions with her characters; it's a joy to see, especially when she does these huge expansive panels that have so much life and beauty to them.  

 Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life is an amazing journey that will knock you on your ass. A comic that has so many memorable and heartbreaking moments that stick with you. And a comic that's not afraid to tackle some hefty issues that we don't see a lot of in mainstream comics. And that's sad. If had more mainstream comics were like this, that put such issues in front of the reader, I think we could have a healthy conversation about them and not worry about women in the scene being afraid to speak up and make a stand against such things like sexism, misogyny, and sexual harassment.

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