Looking into Jane Mai’s work thus far, spanning from comics and zines to an extremely active advice page on her Tumblr, one can’t help but see inklings of some of the greatest autobiographical cartoonists. Jane is the opposite of censored; she lets every aspect of her personal life come through her work, often unabashedly addressing what it’s like to be a hip, educated young woman in 2012. She fully embodies the young social media-fueled generation, using Tumblr as a lens into her work and her personal life.
Jane does a really great job of skewing the role of artist in and out of her work. Her website, which is updated quite often, is cynical, sarcastic, and all the while honest, as she illustrates scenes from her life that read like diary entries. Her signature Sailor Moon-inspired version of herself is a perfect vehicle for her short strips, allowing a sort of immediacy and familiarity that makes her work easily digestible as well as entertaining. Although most of her work seems to be pretty light hearted, especially with her simple and childlike drawing style, her strips resonate exactly what it’s like to be a confused twenty something trying to figure out everything from sex, relationships, to becoming a “functioning” adult.
Finally venturing into a full-fledged book, released by Koyama, Jane’s newest work is SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH BOYS. Truly a personal autobiographical book, SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH BOYS begins with an existential college life crisis, and then documents Jane as she, like most newly adulted adolescents, tries to figure herself out. If it’s anything like her previous work, it’s definitely going to be full of the same humorous, sarcastic, and scatter-brained antics that make her Tumblr so relatable and delightful.
Jane has passed along two images from her upcoming book, which will be released at the sure-to-be-amazing Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival!
And for those who haven’t checked out Jane’s Tumblr, be sure to do so!