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I Saw You…, edited by Julia Wertz, is borne from one of the most interesting ideas for an anthology that I’ve seen in a long while. Based on real-life “missed connections” ads from craigslist and local papers, the book is a collection of short illustrated interpretations of these personals. The stories, drawn by dozens of alternative and up-and-coming graphic artists, each weigh in at somewhere between a single page and a half-dozen pages. One thing I Saw You… gets absolutely right is the voyeuristic feeling you get reading “missed connection” classifieds. Wertz and the other contributors nail the loneliness and longing in the posters of these personals. The result is a fascinating book that you feel slightly guilty and a little titillated reading, like Other People’s Love Letters or the Postsecret Books. The one- or two-sentence personals are a perfect starting point and script for the artists, leaving tons of room to play and create a narrative. Like most other collections, I Saw You… does suffer a bit from the “anthology problem” – some of the stories are just weaker than the others. The loneliness that is communicated so well in the stories can be gut-wrenchingly, heart-breakingly sad, but that shouldn’t deter you from the book. If you want to read stories of how real people act in the name of love, lust, and desperation, you won’t find a better set of comics than this.
I Saw You…, edited by Julia Wertz – 12.95 – 191 pages – Paperback – ISBN 9780307408532 – Three Rivers Press