Red Rock Baby Candy by Shira Spector
Hardcover – Fantagraphics – Mar 2021 – 213 pages
Self-described as “an infertile, high-femme, low income, non-biological Jewish mom, dyke drama queen, and ectopic pregnancy survivor,” the author tells her story in this formally innovative graphic memoir.
Shira Spector literally paints a vivid portrait of the most eventful 10 years of her life, encompassing her tenacious struggle to get pregnant, the emotional turmoil of her father’s cancer diagnosis and eventual death, and her recollections of past relationships with her parents and her partner. Set in a kaleidoscope of Montreal and Toronto, Red Rock Baby Candy unfolds as one of the most formally inventive comics in the history of the medium. It begins in subtle, tonal shades of black ink, introduces color slowly over the next 50 pages until it explodes into a glorious full color palette. The irreverent characters begin to bloom and to live life fully, resurrecting the dead in order to map the geography among infertility, sexuality, choice, and mortality. The drawing is visceral, symbolic, and naturalistic. The visual storytelling eschews traditional comics panels in favor of a series of unique page compositions that convey both a stream of consciousness and the tactile reality of life, both the subjective impressions of the author at each moment of her life and the objective series of events that shape her narrative.