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By: Hess Sahlollbey
If Aziz Ansari’s specialty is discussing the problems facing millennials then Sina Grace proves to be the absolute master of drawing them out in his new graphic novel, Self-Obsessed. This especially rings true in the amazing way technology has transformed the way we, as a society, communicate with one another. We live in a world where, more often than not, rather than speak openly about what’s bothering us we would rather text about our problems. We communicate through short messages with our friends instead of talking about our problems with them in person. Sina Grace, however, bucks that trend completely. He doesn’t want to write or talk about his problems because, in his own words, he’d much rather draw them.
Taking more than a decade’s worth of doodles, drawings, essays and some new strips, Self-Obsessed by Grace is an unfiltered look at his psyche and insecurities. What truly makes his graphic novel striking is inclusion of his old work, in chronological order, with his new strips. The juxtaposition between the works he did early in his adolescence with the new material that he created for this graphic novel allows readers to effectively see not just Sina’s journey as a cartoonist, but also his coming of age.
And while some of his problems may have been difficult for this heterosexual reader to relate to, particularly the ones relating to Grace’s sex life, there was plenty that also echoed true for me. Self-Obsessed captures the emotional angst and turmoils that we’ll face at some point or another while we continue on this never ending process of “growing up.” This can best be seen in the way Grace’s art evolves in Self-Obsessed. I have to commend Grace for having the courage to open up, create and share this intimate work of art with us.