I have to admit Jane Bowles was only vaguely familiar to me when I was reading the summary of the Kickstarter for Strange Wit. Mostly I knew her because of her husband Paul Bowles and frankly I only know him because of the 80s resurgence of his novel, The Sheltering Sky, that I sold a million copies of when I started out as a bookseller. That is pretty much the point of this graphic novel. To bring Jane to the forefront and give her the attention she deserves and deserve it she does.
Meet Jane Bowles: incredible author, inspiring woman, tortured mind.
Jane may have been marginalized by the cultural canon, but her contemporaries considered her “one of the finest modern writers” (John Ashberry), “the most important writer of prose fiction” (Tennessee Williams), and further, a “genius imp, [a]laughing, hilarious, tortured elf” (Truman Capote). Jane drank more than she wrote, worried more than she worked, and had more epically disastrous love affairs than completed books. By almost any measure, Jane led a fascinating life filled with literary giants and great adventure and I want to bring her story to life.
Writer Katy Rex has made it her mission to bring Jane out of the shadows of history so we can all know her better. Each chapter of the graphic novel will include an original Jane Bowles short story, illustrated by a number of different artists.
This book will be published as a standalone issue and follow Jane’s life from childhood up until a freak accident on a horse that led her to be diagnosed with tuberculosis of the knee. It includes art from Tyler Jenkins (Peter Panzerfaust, Neverboy) on the main biography, and June Vigants on the short story, in full color with a stunning and evocative palette from Kelly Fitzpatrick (Sensation Comics). Editor Kirsten Thompson contributes a unique perspective on history and feminism. It will also include Jane’s short story, A Stick Of Green Candy, about the nature of love and childhood innocence and the death of imagination. An inset medical diagram art piece from artist Kate Lacour will detail the intricacies of joint tuberculosis. This campaign will allow the project to continue and build into a full length book, and will be an opportunity for backers to get the exclusive rewards that will not be available once the book is fully produced. This single extra thick issue, coming in at a full 28 printed pages, will also feature an essay from Lauren Spohrer, editor of the online magazine Two Serious Ladies, which publishes original poetry and prose from women around the world.
I’ve backed this Kickstarter as Jane sounds like my kind of dame. Certainly her work should be getting the attention it deserves particular in our day and age where she may be more appreciated than she was by the public in her time.
Here’s the Kickstarter video.
If you’re interested in backing this project click here.