The latest issue of “glamourpuss” is something of a disappointment, as the normal focus on photorealistic art, techniques, and the relationships between artists is replaced by a long meditation on Stan Drake’s second marriage to a much younger woman and the various elements of scandal that came with it. It is, perhaps, the weakest issue of the series yet.
While it’s always difficult to sum up the contents of “glamourpuss,” this issue is oddly simple: in his continuing look at Stan Drake and the comic strip he drew, “The Heart of Juliet Jones,” Sim has come to his use of live models, including his first and second wives. However, instead of exploring how Drake used models as one would expect, Sim spends almost all of his discussion of Drake focused on his marriage to the younger Bunny, how the relationship affected them both, and how the world at large perceived it. And, of course, how Sim perceives their marriage.
The commentary and history is interesting in that gossipy way, but it’s not what “glamourpuss” has been about and it’s a shift that makes for a weaker issue. Sim has discussed the personal lives of artists before, but usually within a stronger context that focused on their work or, at least, stuck to the relationships between artists and how that was tied into their respective stylistic choices and approaches. Ultimately, it all came back to the art, which it doesn’t in this issue. Add to that a weaker than usual fashion magazine portion of the comic and, from a writing standpoint, “glamourpuss” #10 is a weak issue.
However, Sim’s art remains gorgeous as ever as he uses clear lines to draw models and recreate Drake’s own art. On any given page, Sim uses two or three different styles depending on what he’s drawing, and his strong inks stand out particularly well. In a couple of places, his inclusions of photos gives a chance to see how good he is at reproducing the real world, while also stylizing it for beautiful works of art.
While the issue does make an attempt to tie together Drake’s marriage to Bunny with the strip and the larger concept of an artist meeting and becoming involved with a real person who resembles/embodies his creation, it isn’t a strong enough concept to pull everything together. Sim’s own morality can’t help but come through strongly, particularly when he responds directly to Woody Allen’s quote “The heart wants what the heart wants.” After nine fantastic issues, “glamourpuss” delivers a bit of a dud, but still remains a unique and stimulating comic.