‘100 Crushes’ by Elisha Lim
Author: Cathy Camper
May 12, 2014
100 Crushes, a compilation of five years worth of comics by Elisha Lim, is one of those books like Joe Brainard’s I Remember; it’s a deceptively simple, universally appealing idea that makes a reader think, I could do that. Or more accurately, why didn’t I do that? You can’t read Elisha Lim’s thoughtful portraits of people Lim’s had crushes on without wishing you too had kept some kind of record of those who slipped away, who yanked your heartstrings, grabbed your attention or focus or crotch. All those brief, unattainable or inappropriate infatuations that you none-the-less obsessed over–why didn’t you keep track of them? Can you even remember them now?
Though we might have made lists, few of us could craft descriptions (or drawings) as deft as Lim’s. Lim’s one-page bios of former crushes made those individuals come alive for me, while at the same time raising memories from my own past of people I’d yearned for. Lim focuses their attention on LGBTQ people of color, which makes their collection all the more dear to my heart.
One chapter, “The Illustrated Gentleman,” is a butch fashion zine, featuring suave trendsetters, butch clothes, anecdotes and tips about creating your own butch wardrobe. Other chapters focus on memories of being a queer child of the Eighties (Pee Wee Herman, anyone?), an exploration of the word sissy and how it defines people, and collected reminiscences of Lim’s life in Toronto, Berlin, and Singapore.
I love the affirmations of identity throughout this compilation. Lim, interviewing Rae Spoon, asks, ”How do you manage to criticize transphobia in front of a hipster audience and have them love it?” And with Kit Wilson Yang, Lim explores what it means to find a pronoun more meaningful to oneself, and shares the transition they both went through, from “she” to the more self-accurate “they.”
Lim’s color sketches are sensitive and astute. The art in this collection, as well as the writing, breaks down binary classifications while introducing readers to some of the innovative people living this revolution.
By Elisha Lim
Paperback, 9781927668061, 100 pp.