Mimi Pond graphic novel ‘Over Easy’ pairs sharp humor, feminism

April 09, 2014 | 1:43 p.m.
Mimi Pond 3

The manager gives Margaret some sound advice. (Mimi Pond / Drawn & Quarterly)

In 1978, twentysomething artist Mimi Pond dropped out of art school and worked in an Oakland greasy spoon, serving punk rockers, hippies and the occasional prostitute.

She never forgot her time there: “I knew from the moment I stepped through the door that it was a story.”

Fast-forward several years, in which Pond racked up experience writing for “The Simpsons” (she penned the debut episode), “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” and “Designing Women,” all while drawing cartoons for the Los Angeles Times and Seventeen magazine (not to mention raising two kids with her husband, the artist Wayne White).

Finally, some 25 years later, she turned her attention to writing about Mama’s Royal, still a pit stop for Bay Area artists to this day.

Mimi Pond's alter-ego Margaret tries the diner's coffee for the first time. (Mimi Pond/ Drawn & Quarterly)

Mimi Pond’s alter-ego Margaret tries the diner’s coffee for the first time. (Mimi Pond/ Drawn & Quarterly)

This month, the resulting fictionalized memoir, “Over Easy,” hits the shelves from Drawn & Quarterly. For lovers of tawdry tales from the ’70s, told with smarts and sensitivity, “Over Easy” is a gold mine.

In addition to sex and drugs, “Over Easy” doles out plenty of politically incorrect humor from the opening pages on. “I think racial sensitivity is a good thing, feminism is the greatest thing, and I consider myself” a feminist, Pond said in an interview with The Times. “But I don’t think we should forget how it was. It shouldn’t be whitewashed.” (Check out the rest of what she had to say at our sister blog Jacket Copy.)

Pond, who is a charming raconteur, will appear Saturday at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books with fellow graphic novelists Vanessa Davis, Ben Katchor and Anders Nilsen on the panel Illustrating the Point: The Art of the Graphic Novel, at noon.

For more information on the panelists and the festival, which runs Friday to Sunday on the USC campus, visit latimes.com/festivalofbooks.

— Margaret Wappler | @MargaretWappler


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