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excellent writing
competent art
historical bonus 2
total score 7
The Bunch's Power Pak Comics #1
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Only Printing / September, 1979 / 36 pages / Kitchen Sink
In Power Pak Comics #1, the condensed and fragmented history of Aline Kominsky's life is told through her comic-book persona, the Bunch. The book begins with the life stories of Bunch's parents, Arnie and Blabette (Arnie and Annette in real life), who married young and quickly sired the Bunch and later her brother, Alex, who was nicknamed Akkie in real life and in the book. Kominsky's portrayal of her parents reveals an ugly, cruel and violent marriage, aggravated by their rollercoaster financial status.

The 17-page story of Arnie and Blabette ends with Arnie's death from cancer, when the Bunch was just 19 years old. Most of the details in the story were subsequently related as facts in Kominsky's future writings.

Power Pak #1 jumps straight from the Bunch's family life to a marvelous tale about a friend called "The Many Loves of Valerie Feldman." The story depicts Valerie as a shallow and self-centered woman struggling to fight off suicidal thoughts while seeking a satisfying romance. Just as Valerie seems to be finding her independence, she falls back into the same hopeless cycle. Kominsky has said that the story is about a real friend of hers who asked that she not publish the story. When she did, the friend never spoke to her again.

The book also introduces the character "Mr. Bunch," an imaginary male alter ego of the Bunch, who coaches the Bunch with tough, macho life advice. Mr. Bunch sticks around for two decades and witnesses the Bunch finally achieve success when she marries "a steady meal ticket" and settles into married life. After another story about a friend who didn't last long, Power Pak #1 comes full circle back to the Bunch's mother, Blabette, who introduces the grownup Bunch to her fabulous job and fabulous boss when the Bunch visits New York from her home in California.

Power Pak Comics #1 delivers some key insights into Kominsy's life and some funny, yet sometimes tragic, anecdotes that she has witnessed along the way. As always, Kominsky's palpable candidness about her past experiences enlivens every story she conveys.
Kitchen Sink printed approximately 7,500 copies of this comic book. It has not been reprinted.
Aline Kominsky Crumb - 1-36