For this week’s Illustrated PEN Guest Editor Whitney Taylor presents Blame This on the Boogie by artist Rina Ayuyang.

Taylor writes: Rina Ayuyang’s Blame This on the Boogie, published by Drawn and Quarterly, is a love story to her family, her Filipino-American heritage, and her obsession with dancing and musicals. This memoir’s strength lies in its vibrant sketchy illustration and flowy, at times frenzied formatting, as well as Ayuyang’s knack for humorous conversations about the minutiae of life. There is a tension that exists between Ayuyang’s dreams and what daily life brings. Her childhood devotion to a campy slice of Americana flourishes while she struggles to find her place as the youngest of an immigrant family growing up in Pittsburg. Later in the book, she is challenged with balancing early motherhood and a career in comics. Despite the demands put on her from family, school, and work throughout, she carves out a space for her love of dance, cultivates it, and invites others in. Yes, there is chaos, frustration, and longing in Ayuyang’s work, but there is also the tremendous joy that results from the little and unexpected moments that can grow out of them.

Copyright © Rina Ayuyang, 2018

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Rina Ayuyang was always inspired by the Sunday newspaper funnies and slice-of-life tales. Her short stories have been nominated for the Ignatz and Eisner awards and she has been honored with a MoCCA Arts Festival Awards of Excellence silver medal. Her comics have appeared in Mutha Magazine and The Comics Journal. She is also the publisher of the micro comics imprint, Yam Books. She is the author of two graphic novels, Whirlwind Wonderland and Blame This on the Boogie. Ayuyang lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and son.


Author page:

Twitter: @RinaYAY