A Bibliography of Autobiographies


My brother and I at the Void in Washington, DC.

1. Jess / Jeff / Jessica Johnson used to make comics. In 1993-4, Fantagraphics Books published the comic book Nurture the Devil which he wrote and drew. She has since passed through a gender prism of identity to confound available pronouns; finding a transgendered locus of self insufficiently isolating, it has adopted an indeterminate, unsexed stance where the awkward is maximal. No longer married to comics but still in thrall to the muse of visual storytelling, the J triumvirate are currently engaged in the generation of image, text and sound (in both moving and fixed arrangements) for the absurdly grandiose purpose of creating a world worth living in, draped over the vectors of our extant game engine of dirt and meat.

2. Born Oct. 2 1970 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, Jessica (neé Jeff) Johnson enjoyed a golden childhood of love and affirmation before the fall. Puberty hit hard and ugly and incomprehensibly difficult in the upper-middle-class suburbs of Marietta, Georgia, owing largely to her congenital gender dysphoria and its concomitant guilt and alienation from humanity. She adopted an artist pose, alone and apart from the world at large, and clung desperately to its implicit promises of eventual posthumous validation.

3. In my early 20s, I wrote and drew a comic called Nurture the Devil which was published by Fantagraphics Books. Mostly driven by unresolved transgender issues, I turned my guilt into inky boxes of creepiness. In my thirties, I unravelled my knot of self in a shockingly smooth transition that ran its course through a headful of untitled film stills to an apotheosis of sorts as a trannyjunkiewhore in NYC before craigslist was a known variable to the po-po. I became the angelic demoness I’d always dreamed and feared I was; I reached my highest of lows and approached true quantum unknowability, but this state wasn’t sustainable, so after some earthy humiliations I find myself here, age 42, back in Atlanta. I’ve put aside the estrogen regimen that ensures a certain comfort level with my envelope of flesh, because in order for me to be a productively creative person, it is necessary that I squirm a bit in this unfitting skin.

4. I’m a pre-op mtf transsexual with a healthy sexual appetite for boys and girls. I’ve worked in various graphic design positions over the years in Seattle and Atlanta, and now find myself in NYC working at CBGB and also whoring myself on Craigslist. I’m a bit of a narcissist, so I love seeing myself on screen; and so of course I’ve thought about doing ‘adult films.’ So far I’ve not made that leap, but I would be very interested in trying it out.

5. I write and draw, and have conversations with people in realtime. I talk a good game, but I’m a flake. Like Tiresias, I spent a decade as a (trans-) woman. Like Fellini and Hugh Hefner, I’m a manqué cartoonist. I live in an honest-to-god Merzbau. I can’t remember a day when I didn’t feel like everything was on the edge of collapse. I’ve cultivated an aptitude for banal brinksmanship. I share a birthday with Groucho Marx, Gandhi and Sting. Like you, I’m here; like anyone, I link my linguistic chains together and plot, some day, to invent some new idea of freedom.




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