Tag Archives: Carol Swain

Graphic Content – Giraffes in My Hair

And the award for the comic with the weirdest name goes to…

List Item:  Read half of the 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die
41/501Title: Giraffes in My Hair
Creators: Carol Swain and Bruce Paley
Years: 2008
Country: USA

Well honestly Giraffes in My Hair is a bizarre title for some comics. Then again, it’s because of the title that this was picked up as the next comic. I didn’t even get that this was a reference to song lyrics, I just figured this was going to be a surreal comic involving a lot of drugs or hallucinations. At least I was a little bit close on that one.

Giraffes in My Hair is a collection of comics telling the life of Bruce Paley between the ages of 18-30. We see him dabble in a lot of drugs, dodge the Vietnam draft, get imprisoned on numerous occasions and eventually get his life together. Honestly, it is a wonder that he survived all of this and lived to be able see this put onto paper.

The stories that Paley tells aren’t out of the ordinary when it comes to debauched tales of the 1960s and 1970s. A lot of what he experienced are things that many authors and film makers (contemporary and modern) have been telling us for decades. Some have an interesting spin on things – like when he ended up in court for stealing a watermelon, or how Disneyland had stricter entry rules than Mexico – but it mostly feels well trodden.

Giraffes in My Hair is the story of a man who survived a lot of drink and drugs and managed to find a way to mature. However, for all the people that he managed to outlast (including the Vietnam soldiers who died whilst he dodged the draft with a fake mental illness) there is little remorse or survivors guilt. Hell, a friend of his ends up traumatised after being in a Moroccan prison after an ill fated attempt to smuggle drugs and all Paley can do is think about the money he lost. He has no self-awareness and, ultimately, that makes him unlikable. At least to me.

Whilst this comic wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, it did whet my appetite for more comics before returning to the written word. Going to be moving onto I Hate Fairyland (I saw this on sale in Waterstones and couldn’t resist the twisted artwork) and then will see where I end up.