Invincible Summer, Volume II
Reading Nicole Georges’ collection of zines, Invincible Summer, is like opening a time capsule to not only the writer’s life, but also the community and time period in which she lived. The title of the eight zines collected in this book hails from an Albert Camus quotation that the author (zinester) found on an inspirational bookmark: “In the midst of Winter I realized that there was in me an invincible Summer.” And really, there’s a breathlessness to these zines, an excitement for life, that does make them an engaging experience for any reader.
The diversity of information in these zines is engaging. How can you be bored when you move from the recounting of a visit to the parental units to a list of the Top Ten songs Georges is digging to fun mini-comics and illustrations ranging from narrative to the random scribble of a pig. Additionally, there are times when Georges seems to directly speak to her audience, and then times that seem like explosive attempts at capturing an experience, whether it’s a trip or conversation or image.
Some zines fall into intellectual masturbation territory, but this book’s main strength is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Georges isn’t trying to play the role Ghandi or an all-knowing sage. Instead, Georges’ work seems hopeful and bright. Even when things don’t go her way, there is no doom and gloom. For example, old boyfriends are spoken about in sweet anecdotes and bad days are framed by humorous sketches.
The best part is that Georges does not romanticize her life or try to seem like a rock star. She’s just like anybody else. She “borrows” her roommate’s toothpaste, hunts (sometimes unsuccessfully) for jobs, and has trouble communicating with her mother. In short, Georges could be your friend, and reading her zines is like reading a friend’s letter.
Georges is as self-aware as she is talented. One of the funnier moments in this zine is when she realizes that she fits the Portland grunge stereotype. The best anecdotes in this collection are the ones linked to the smallest of moments: a night spent with a friend, a recipe, an image, and short illustrated synopsis of a day. To this author, the details of a drawing or moment are as important as its big events. This collection exudes an electric feeling of discovery. Life, as depicted in this book, seems open with possibility. In short, it seems invincible.