The Fart Party’s Over is an illustrated, feature-length memoir by Julia Wertz. Wertz is a cartoonist and urban explorer–for awhile, more explorer than cartoonist. The reasons for that are both numerous and singular: Wertz is an addict and her cartooning has been, and is still, rooted in her addiction. She says:
As a cartoonist, my comedy writing comes from a turbulent upbringing, a chronic illness and substance abuse. For my whole life (starting as a baby, or so claims my mother) I’ve oscillated between cynicism and buffoonery. Those two dynamics translated well onto paper, creating a popular, humorous autobiographical comic book series about my life, which I gave the unfortunate, non-sequitur title The Fart Party. However, in real life, those opposing personality dynamics created the classic Janus Mask lifestyle often utilized by chronic alcoholics. During the height of my career thus far (2009 to 2010), I found myself living the classic double life of appearing well in public but going to hell in private.
Wertz’s autobiographical essay is intercut with pages from The Fart Party, as well as The Infinite Wait and Other Stories, sketch diaries and unpublished comics. It’s a bracing read–triggering confessional, and sneakily affecting cartooning. As an introduction to the artist, it’s superb. As an essay about addiction, it’s raw, honest, and exactly what it needs to be.