In this week’s Illustrated PEN, Guest Editor Rob Kirby presents an excerpt from artist Tommi Parrish’s forthcoming book, The Lie and How We Told It. 

Kirby writes: In Australian artist Tommi Parrish’s excellent new graphic novel, The Lie and How We Told It (Fantagraphics, 2018), two old high school friends, Cleary, a genderqueer person, and Tim, an ostensibly heterosexual male, meet by chance years later. They spontaneously decide to spend some time together catching up. During the course of the evening they learn how much things have—and have not—changed between them. This excerpt captures the quotidian nature of Parrish’s narrative and how vibrantly it juxtaposes with their gorgeous painted panels and highly stylized characters. As with the rest of Parrish’s work, How We Told It relentlessly interrogates issues of gender and sexuality, pointing out that strict binaries are mostly jerry-built and easily broken.

Tommi Parrish was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1989. They currently live in Montreal in a house with two dogs, two cats, and six other humans. Tommi has comics in the permanent collection at the Gallery of Western Australia, has a second book coming out with 2dCloud, and has had shows, delivered workshows, and given talks throughout Australia, North America, and Argentina. They spend their days painting comics at the kitchen table.