I am Often Mistaken for Miles Davis
by Sarah Louise Wahrhaftig
I am Often Mistaken for Miles Davis is a lovely little book and the first well-produced mini I’ve seen from Sarah Louise. Last year she had another mini to pass out at MoCCA, but her delicate, expressive line drawings weren’t very well copied and it was tough to read. This mini, at least, should be enough to tempt you and introduce you to her lively and attentive drawing style.
…Miles Davis has a pretty little cover with a nice color selection. Inside it’s cute and messy and unassuming. Mostly autobiographical, but sometimes pure fiction, it’s tough to imagine Sarah Louise ever writing a serious comic because she’s always writing, lovingly, to the next laugh.
These early experimentations in comics I hope will lead her to write a purely fictional comic though, because it would be fantastic. If she could stop taking nods from other cartoonists she knows, delegate the autobio to the internet, and just totally break away to do her own thing in print, she’d be a success. I imagine she’d write the Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator of comics. Weird and wonderful and totally memorable. The kind of book people can connect over, just for being the handful of folks in the room who have read and been totally, joyfully, perplexed by it.
Not every storyline in …Miles Davis delivers and a few take pause just to be esoteric. I’m sure it’s a fun read if you were there, but not everything seems like it was meant for a larger audience, which is just careless writing and editing. Still, why would a person put such effort into screen printing and distributing a mini that’s only meant for her friends to read and understand? I think Sarah Louise is just on the cusp of realizing that she loves making comics for herself, and I think once she starts getting a bit more selfish with her stories and far less affirming and giving and funny about what other people are doing, she’s going to create a book worth applauding.
A little bit of everything gets thrown into this mini: anecdotes, auto-biography, fantasy, shopping lists, and a sampling from the 200 bad comics challenge. A tray of delicious tapas, yes, but I’m still looking forward to dinner.
I don’t know how much she’s charging for this book, but isn’t $2 at least standard? I’m sure she’ll make you a deal if you sweet-talk her. I’m sure you’d even make a pretty cool friend if you write and say, “Hi,” but for goodness sake leave this girl alone so she can write a graphic novel already!
– Sarah Morean