Graphic Novel Review: Flung Out Of Space: Inspired By The Indecent Adventures of Patricia Highsmith by Grace Ellis and Hannah Templer
Posted on January 12, 2023 at 6:30 am by Gene Ambaum
Flung Out Of Space: Inspired By The Indecent Adventures of Patricia Highsmith by Grace Ellis and Hannah Templer. Abrams ComicArts, 2022. 9781419744334. 208pp.
I only know Highsmith from her books, and I’ve only read a few of her more popular novels. So it was a little strange to read the author’s note at the front of this fictionalized graphic biography, in which Ellis notes “…Highsmith was an appalling person.” Apparently Highsmith was, like her most famous characters, a charismatic sociopath. I wasn’t sure I’d finish the book. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
Templar’s black and white and orange art is beautiful, and the pace of the book is masterful. I’m sure many will be drawn to the depiction of Highsmith’s life as a lesbian in the early 20th Century US, which was informative and entertaining and wow am I glad things have changed. (She even meets a lover in a group therapy session for women with her “problem.” Ha.) But my favorite thing about the book is that Highsmith wrote comic books during the Golden Age, which I hadn’t known before. Stan Lee makes a notable appearance. (I really hope that bit of the book is absolutely true.) And throughout Highsmith is determined to make it as a writer — she sees herself as a writer of good novels with criminal elements, not a writer of crime novels. Her attitude is often appalling, sure, but I have to say I didn’t walk away hating her, and I do highly recommend this graphic novel.