Mimi Pond has become a favorite illustrator and writer of mine over the last few years. She wrote and illustrated two memoir-styled graphic novels based on her early struggle to become a cartoonist in the Oakland, CA in the 70’s, and trying not get too wrapped up in her life as a server. I gravitate to her sense of humor and ability to make character feel so real. I first saw her book “Over Easy” in the window of Fantastic Comics in Berkeley, CA. A few years later, she continued the story of “Over Easy” through her latest release, “The Customer Is Always Wrong.”
She recollects this period of her life, through the stories of the larger than life characters she worked with and the often questionable situations they found themselves in. She tells this adventurous period of her life through her beautiful watercolor paintings and limited color palette. I love the challenge of that limited color choice, because everything somehow still has a vibrancy to it. This style choice helps to you to really focus on the individual characters and what they’re feeling and going through. She has some outlandish stories in there that seem almost safe in the protective bubble of blue/green tones washed over it.
I was lucky to hear Mimi Pond speak this past fall at Cartoon Crossroads Columbus in Columbus, OH in support of her latest book. She was candid about her life and work. It was there that I learned her first book, “Over Easy”, was a work of passion spanning over 17 years from start to finish. She said it was a story she just really wanted to tell. It can be hard to have something creatively keep your attention, especially for that long. It really made me admire her work that much more.