excerpt from I Want You by Lisa Hanawalt

A review of I Want You in The Beacon Herald

Graphic Novel: Hanawalt collection offers tour through creator's twisted mind

The Beacon Herald    |    Dan Brown    |    August 14, 2020

Lisa Hanawalt’s I Want You is weird, gross and funny.

You may know Hanawalt from her role as producer and production designer on Netflix’s Bojack Horseman. You may also recall how I reviewed her Coyote Doggirl in this space two years ago (it’s awesome).

Now she is back with this Drawn and Quarterly-published collection of her earlier strips.

It’s all over the place, with Hanawalt’s off-beat sense of humour serving as the unifying thread for the book.

Does a dog wearing a fax machine as a hat strike you as funny? What about a mountain lion wearing a George Foreman Grill on its head?

Does the sight of an upright moose wearing a sweater vest and jean skirt do it for you?

Have you ever had the urge to murder people with the same name as you who come up in Google when you ego-surf your moniker?

If you answered yes to any of those queries, then I Want You is probably in your wheelhouse.

Hanawalt, a Los Angeles-based illustrator and writer, provides a handy reference chart of her interests in the introduction if you still aren’t sure: Among them are animals, sexuality, anxiety, bodies, nature, food and fashion. It’s not unusual for her to address all of those topics in one strip.

To read I Want You is to take a tour through Hanawalt’s brain.

Personally, I enjoyed the ride because it’s not just the same old same old.

She has a fresh — albeit twisted — sense of humour. Her skewed perspective reminds me of Matt Groenig’s pre-Simpsons work on Life in Hell, another alternative L.A. strip.

In one sequence, Hanawalt uses the lingo of real-estate brokers (secure parking spot, great curb appeal) to illustrate sexual positions.

Like the heroine of Coyote Doggirl, Hanawalt is unafraid to be herself.

A lot of the humour in I Want You is adult, so I recommend this collection to mature readers only.

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