I Love Led Zeppelin: Panty-Dropping Comics
I Love Led Zeppelin at Bumbershoot 2007When: 3:45 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 1Where: Boening Performing Arts Stage, Bagley Wright TheatreEllen Forney at Bailey/Coy Books, 414 Broadway Ave. E., 206-323-8842. Free. 7 p.m. Thurs., Aug. 10. Also: Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 206-624-6600, www.elliottbaybook.com. Free. 7:30 p.m. Wed., Aug. 16.
By Ellen Forney (Fantagraphics, $19.95) When I was 15, Ellen Forney destroyed my innocence. Thanks to her "Seattle's Erotic Landmarks" comic, I could no longer see the old blue-and-white Puget Sound Energy flame on Mercer and think anything but "Magic Pussy!" or "Nuclear Vagina!" It was like she was my big sister, shooting straight but scarring, too. I loved it. The local artist (and past Seattle Weekly contributor) has just published a new collection of shorts, how-tos, and collaborations with some well-known writers (it begins with an earnest but irrelevant foreword from Sherman Alexie). As you'd expect, there are plenty of local scenes and characters from the Emerald City: Home Alive educators, Courtney Love, and also Tamara Paris, dressed in Day of the Week underwear. The book's title comes from Forney's strip "The Final Soundtrack," in which she considers the best songs to play if you're dying in a car accident. "Dazed and Confused" makes the list; unsurprisingly, Don Henley doesn't. Forney's selections range from 1992 to 2005, so the whole can seem inconsistent. On the one hand, it's exciting to see her style germinate and bloom. On the other, her less-mature work—especially the "After Hours" series—is smart but poorly paced. Forney hit her stride roundabout 1999, a stride marked by strong, thick curves, and text-heavy quirk. She is at her best (and sisterliest) in the how-tos—step-by-step instructions for everything from dessert (blue cheese, warm honey, and bread) to surgically reattaching fingers (with blackly hilarious graphics). As evidenced by her how-tos on tassel twirling and call girls, Forney is often adventurously sexy, but she's never belittling or judgmental. These days, that's a rare stance, and I'm grateful to her for taking it. And if you should meet the artist in the signing line at one of her author events, ask to see her rock star tooth. It's rad.