David Heatley's latest graphic memoir has been 7 years in the making. Qualification is brimming with black humor, exploring the ultimate irony: the author's addiction to 12-step programs.
David Heatley had an unquestionably troubled and eccentric childhood: father a sexually repressed alcoholic, mother an overworked compulsive overeater. Then David's parents enter the world of 12-step programs and find a sense of support and community. It seems to help. David, meanwhile, grows up struggling with his own troublesome sexual urges and seeking some way to make sense of it all. Eventually he starts attending meetings too. Alcoholics Anonymous. Narcotics Anonymous. Overeaters Anonymous. Debtors Anonymous. Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. More and more meetings. Meetings for issues he doesn't have.
With stark, sharply drawn art and unflinching honesty, Heatley explores the strange and touching relationships he develops, and the truths about himself and his family he is forced to confront while "working" an ever-increasing number of programs. The result is a complicated, unsettling, and hilarious journey—of far more than 12 steps.
“Heatley is a great, dark, funny, truth teller. Qualification reveals how complex humans are, how full of contradictions, what a life-time struggle it is to sort it all out, a test at which no one ever fully succeeds.”
The debut graphic memoir published by Pantheon & Jonathan Cape in 2008.
My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down is Heatley's life story told in six different but connected narrative threads. "Sex History" describes every sexual encounter dating back to kindergarten, with details that would make a therapist blush. "Black History" is an unflinchingly honest meditation on his own racism. "Portrait of My Mom" and "Portrait of My Dad" are beautifully paced vignettes, skewering and celebrating his lovably dysfunctional parents. "Family History" tells the story of his family from his great-great-grandparents' lives and closes with the birth of his own children. Woven in and around the larger pieces are "dream comics" that expand on the same themes with a baffling unconscious logic.
A zany middle grade reader by Ellen Potter, jam packed full of illustrations by David Heatley
"Otis Dooda clearly shares juvenile-literature DNA with a certain Wimpy Kid. Skewed for a slightly younger crowd, this first book in what will surely wind up as a series introduces our hero struggling not only with an awful moniker but with a family move to a New York City apartment building packed with quirky characters, each inked in rascally black and white." Grades 3-6. -Karen Cruze
Hang on... there's a sequel!
After surviving the crazy events of his first weeks in New York City, nine-year-old Otis Dooda is starting out at a brand-new school. He would love to make a good impression, but life in Tidwell Towers is never that easy. With his disgusting seatmate, the possible impending alien invasion, and the introduction of his new nemesis, Sid Frackas "The Greatest LEGO Genius Who Ever Lived" (a title Otis thought was his!), things are getting downright dangerous!