By Leslie Stein
Leslie Stein takes us on a sinuous urban stroll divorced from destination, glimpsing New York City through her open eyes. While she is closing up a bar late at night, she is also an adolescent at a rave in the mountains, an adult grappling with her grandfather’s fading memory or at one of her first waitressing jobs. Stein is a master storyteller, an urban explorer, and a loyal guide through dark days and simple, blissful encounters. Stein’s curiosity about and generosity toward the world around her come through powerfully: each colorful story flows with vivid watercolors and delicate ink lines. Here, an autobiography is built through memories and moments tied together by loose lines, evoking a beautiful dreamlike yet endlessly relatable glimpse into the world of a thirty-something woman carving out a life for herself, one step at a time.
Known for her acclaimed Eye of the Majestic Creature series, collected here are Stein’s serialized Vice.com comics which have become a staple for the site, showcasing her storytelling abilities with a freer style. With an introduction and new material, Present will be a deluxe die-cut hardcover that is a meditation on memory. Stein is asking us to take a moment to be here now, while acknowledging the other places and people we always carry with us.