Illustrated by Vanessa Davis
Bad Shoes & the Women Who Love Them is a lighthearted wake-up call to women to make informed decisions when buying and wearing fashionable shoes. Arming the reader with essential facts, citing medical literature as well as leading podiatric surgeons and orthopedists, Leora Tanenbaum covers the history of high heels, Chinese foot binding, the controversy over cosmetic surgery of the foot, and what Freud had to say about women's shoes and sex. Illustrated throughout by artist Vanessa Davis, Bad Shoes & the Women Who Love Them also includes hilarious anecdotes from women who love shoes. And yes—it is possible to make smart footwear decisions without sacrificing style! Tanenbaum shows you how.
So what if my toes squish just a little to fit , or if I get some cuts and bruises? Isn’t that the price of being a woman?
You’re likely familiar with the work of R. Crumb and Roz Chast (what’s with great comics artists and monosyllables?) but how about Vanessa Davis? If you’ve been sleeping on her, now’s the time to wake up. She just won the Paris Review’s prestigious Terry Southern Prize—recognizing her “humor, wit, and sprezzatura”—for her series “Summer Hours” in the Paris Review Daily. Previous winners include Elif Batuman and Ben Lerner—so she’s in good company.
Not only that, but Davis’s pioneering 2005 graphic novel Spaniel Rage is being reissued by Montreal comics publishing powerhouse Drawn & Quarterly. Before we all became bloggers and tweeters and instagrammers, chronicling the minutiae of our mundane, precarious existences, Davis’s autobiographical work did so with wit and grace unlikely to be found elsewhere. “More observational than confessional,” as Drawn & Quarterly puts it, Spaniel Rage is “sexy, funny, lonely, beautiful, spare, and very smart—the finest work from a natural storyteller.” D&Q has a free excerpt online here.
You can find her award-winning comics for the Paris Review here and her work for Tablet here. Davis also illustrated Leora Tanenbaum’s Bad Shoes & the Women Who Love Them, available from your friends at Seven Stories Press. Check out a few of the illustrations below!