Written by Steven T. Seagle
Illustrated by Various
Cover by Mads Ellegård Skovbakke
Published by Image Comics
Released 2/7/18 / $24.99
I once coined the expression, “When you live with someone, you run the risk of seeing them naked.”
It was NOT simply referring to seeing them without clothes.
After reading this unique new book from Image, I feel like I’ve just seen author Steven T. Seagle naked…and I don’t mean without clothes.
I really wasn’t that familiar with his work before this.
Oh, I’d seen Ben 10. It was once one of my son’s favorite TV series.
And I’d heard his name. I knew he had written quite a few mainstream comics in recent years but none that I was reading.
This book, though, Get Naked, is in the tradition of the great autobiographical graphic novels that range from Justin Green’s Binky Brown stories to Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and beyond. Described on the cover as a series of graphic essays, there are 19 different European artists, each one drawing a chapter in his or her own style.
And those styles are across the board! There’s everything from traditional comics to artsy illustration to underground comix style to children’s book art to animated cartoon looks!
Theme-wise, the book offers up Seagle’s personal observations and evolving thoughts on individual nudity as seen from his own American hang-ups and also through the various sensibilities one finds in both other countries as well as specific contexts.
I should probably mention that while this book is by no sane person’s definition pornography, it is most likely NSFW, which is ironic in that its goal seems largely to demystify the very concept of nudity. There are a couple panels of actual sex, too—well, not “actual” sex. Just pictures of it. And not really all that explicit, either. Still, some of you are easily offended.
Even if I wanted to play favorites as to the stories or the artists, I couldn’t. While the individual chapters each hold up beautifully on their own, they succeed best in forming the whole work, read from beginning to end, where you can follow Seagle’s thinking and education.
And as far as the art, with all the myriad styles and judicious use (and sometimes NON-use) of color, as I went through the book, anticipating what type of art the next chapter would was my favorite thing!
As this is all autobiographical, even the book’s thin focus on the concept of nakedness allows for all the human emotions one expects from this kind of project—fear, embarrassment, triumph, but most of all, a sense of humor. Not laugh out loud humor but more observational humor.
So, I guess I’ve really just met Steven T. Seagle, I’ve already seen him naked, and I like him. He has produced a fun, thoughtful, and unique read.