Indie Comic Review: Drinking at the Movies

Reading Drinking at the Movies by Julia Wertz is a lot like finding out that your parents toured with The Dead back in the day.  You have a hard time believing that you missed all the clues along the way (the wistful glances at the VW buses on the highway, the unnatural devotion to Cherry Garcia ice cream), but now that you know, you just have to sit down and hear all the stories to believe it for yourself.  While there have been clues along the way that life wasn’t all whisky and stuffy literary events, Julia Wertz opens up with a warts-and-all look at her first year in New York.

For people not familiar with Wertz, she writes/draws/lives the comic The Fart Party (conveniently found at   To quote her site, “The Fart Party is an autobiographical comic what is meant to be taken facetiously at times.”  It is important that you understand this fact, because Drinking at Movies is NOT The Fart Party.
While Fart Party is good for many a laugh and the occasional nod to the irony of the situation, Drinking at Movies strips away much of the whiskey coating that Wertz usually uses and leaves us with an honest image of what life is like for her.  Still present is her wide-eyed comic persona, but instead of ending every scene with a punch line and a belly laugh, Wertz leaves the reader with a jumble of emotions.  The end result is a bit unsettling.  We are usedto laughing with and at her.  Now we are living the moment with her and sometimes there are tears.
We learn the truth about Wertz’s never-ending stream of dead end jobs (What?  She has to work AND make awesome comics????).  We experience the emotional effects of her brother’s disappearance and overdose.  We feel her frustration of living without healthcare.  And, yes, we laugh as she tries to discover the identity of the person who keeps pissing on the bar stool in the corner.  These are the kinds of stories of which a real  life (not just a cartoon persona) is made.
Julia is showing us much of her life which has been hidden from view.  In a 2008 interview with The Daily Crosshatch, Wertz noted that “70-percent of my life I don’t talk about in comics, because it’s personal, even though I’ll make a comic of me peeing in the sink. I don’t think that’s personal. I don’t care if people know that I pee in the sink—which I don’t do on a regular basis. But yeah, there’s definitely personal stuff that I self-censor out. I keep sketchy comics every day that I never, ever show anybody. I put a lot of personal stuff in there.”  Drinking at the Movies tells some of the stories that have been censored in The Fart Party over the years, and hints at more stories that may in time see the light of day.
Drinking at the Movies approaches life with the same wit, hilarity, and absurdity that we have come to expect from Julia Wertz.  However, this time, Wertz shows us that life isn’t all fart jokes and whiskey wells.  Sometimes life is about sneaking a burrito and a beer in to the movies to escape from the insanity of the world around us.  Luckily for us, she is a great companion.  Can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!  
Do yourself a favor and get yourself a copy of this book when it hits the shelves on August 31st!  It will give you something to read while you are waiting for the theater lights to dim.
This entry was posted in Drinking at the Movies, Fart Party, Julia Wertz, Review. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>