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Lucky (Lucky)

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  1,007 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
A wry daily comics journal of urban ennui

Gabrielle Bell fascinatingly documents the mundane details of her below-minimum-wage, twentysomething existence in Brooklyn, New York, with a subtle humor. Her simple, unadorned drawing style, heavy narration, and biting wit chronicle transient roommates who communicate only through Post-it notes; aspiring artists who sublet
Hardcover, 111 pages
Published September 2006 by Drawn and Quarterly
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Kathryn That disturbed me, too. There were a few other little details that seemed insensitive or unkind ... I put it down to her being young when she wrote…moreThat disturbed me, too. There were a few other little details that seemed insensitive or unkind ... I put it down to her being young when she wrote these journals, and trying to preserve her uncensored thoughts. But editing that reference wouldn't have hurt the book in any way. (less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan 21, 2010 Sarra rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
I had heard good things about Bell, and I excitedly requested all of her work offered by my library. I settled down with "Lucky", in anticipation. I got to page 15 and closed the book in disgust. The inner dialogue in the first panel of page 15 reads: "After reading the entire thing three times, the illustration still looked retarded. I had no choice but to send it off anyway and pretend I was a retard. DEER SURS, HEER IZ THE PICHUR THAT I DRAWED. I HOWP THET YEW LIK IT."
This is not okay. It's d
Apr 23, 2009 Agathafrye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
Nothing happens in this book. There is a lot of apartment hunting, worrying about financial situations, and procrastinating. I adored it.
Dov Zeller
I finally have a bit of a grasp on what makes Gabrielle Bell's work so compelling to me. The last few books I read of hers I wondered, "why do I like this so much." Because there's something very matter-of-fact and plodding about it. Dailiness and repetition.

After reading a bunch more graphic memoir type stuff -- several books by Jeffrey Brown, and "The Hospital Suite" by John Porcellino, "El Deafo" by Cece Bell, "Letting it Go" by Miriam Katin, "An Age of License" by Lucy Knisley...I read "Luck
Aug 07, 2007 LeGrand rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: artists
Shelves: graphic_novels
I read this book while waiting for an appointment with my therapist. This book goes nowhere and has no point. The drawing are simple and pretty much just nice illustrations. While the author does not seem to be taking you anywhere or bringing you to an important understanding of why she wrote this book.. she does take you on a beautiful ride. I also found myself amused at various points by how she presents her life.. especially the mundane.
Derek Parker
Jun 15, 2013 Derek Parker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of Gabrielle Bell's various Lucky comics from nine or ten years ago. These stories are more overtly memoir-like than some of her other work collected elsewhere (e.g., Mome or Drawn & Quarterly anthologies), which explains why many readers see her work in the same vein as Jeffrey Brown, Julie Doucet, and Alison Bechdel.
Jul 03, 2007 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this three-part graphic novel, Gabrielle Bell chronicles the daily life of a 20-something cartoonist who's trying to make a living and write this book while persisting in New York. There are long stretches of a daily grind punctuated by fraught moments as a nude studio model, apartment-seeker, girlfriend to Tom, artist's assistant, yoga novice, and sometime teacher. I am charmed by these moments, and yet they are brief and frequently thin; there aren't many notes that linger. Furthermore, man ...more
Dec 04, 2010 jess rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book I really wanted to love. I felt certain that I would love it. I adore the mundane everyday sort of autobiographical comics and graphic novels. I almost fell for a boy once simply because he drew three panel comics of his day every single day. I really go for that stuff, for better or worse.

Unfortunately, I felt like this book was "just okay." I like the drawing style. I like the dialog. I like the stories of someone living in The City, floating around between apartments, having a
Apr 04, 2013 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lucid look at the state of being a young creative in a city that both values and mocks artists. Includes ongoing theme of that slender ring of hell that is real estate in NYC.

Andy: The yogis and holy men say that you have to make your journey alone. But that doesn't mean you have to spend your life in isolation. It means you have to rely on your own inner resources.

Gabrielle: Like what resources?

Andy: Like, if you're an artist and you only make art when inspiration comes, then inspiration will c
Aug 11, 2015 Cathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A journal-type graphic memoir wherein Bell recounts her struggles as a twenty-something artist in Brooklyn to find a decent place to live, figure out relationship stuff, and to support herself as an art teacher. The drawings are fairly static and the narration is text heavy, but she nails the weirdness of roommates and the awkwardness of trying to appear legitimate to the great aunt of her private lesson art students when the students are twelve-year-old boys intent on drawing sexually explicit ...more
I really enjoyed that Bell explains the evolution of the book in the introduction. The three sections of Lucky are different in tone, and it's fun to hear her address that. You can definitely see the changes. I was impressed by her drawing style - she could get a lot out of very line-based drawings. And I'm always fascinated by roommate drama (i.e. He Died with a Felafel in his Hand), especially since I have friends living the NYC version. She has great reflections on art, although I wish she'd ...more
Jenny Devildoll
I enjoy Gabrielle's drawing style, though I think I prefer some of her more surrealistic works. It's not that scurrying for housing in NYC and struggling to be an artist while modeling nude for money aren't relatable topics. It's that they're COMPLETELY relatable to the nausea-and-reaching-for-anxiety-meds degree. But if you didn't ever do any of that stuff I think it would be interesting to read about what it's like.
David Schaafsma
Minimalist, young twenty-something artist going nowhere in New York City. Likeable, as in, this is basically about nothing, no big point, just getting to know a simple, nice person, emotionally flat... and in small doses this was wonderful for me, made me smile... As a whole, read in a day or so, I liked it a little less...This could just be a gendered thing in that I like Jason so much, and many women are not impressed with him as much as me...
Dec 27, 2016 Morgan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
I like reading journal comics, and I liked that aspect of this book. The lowish rating isn't because I had unreasonable expectations of high drama or philosophical depth (or even different art or writing styles), but because a few unfortunate, unpleasant remarks by the narrator/author soured the whole experience.
Darren Cormier
Apr 27, 2011 Darren Cormier rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Continuing my 2011 fascination with graphic novels, I read Gabrielle Bell's Lucky yesterday. Much has been written about her minimal cartooning style, her insights and lack of romanticism about life as a twenty-something artist in NYC, which paradoxically makes her work (and her) charming. Much has been made of her capturing the spirit of an entire generation and lifestyle of people, while still living that particular lifestyle. I will not do any of these in this unorthodox review, for it has be ...more
Nov 12, 2007 Alexis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Lucky series is set in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I acknowledge that I am sucker for anything set in New York but I especially liked the non-hipster but hip way Bell tackles Williamsburg. As a graphic novelist/cartoonist she is certainly of the hipster type but you do not feel she is trying to be, she just is. And as someone that would fail miserably if I tried to be hipster, I appreciate her lack of guile.

Her drawings have a style that is clean and simple, my favorite.

The piece I enjoyed the
Jan 03, 2008 Mikaya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Gabrielle Bell so much. I read her book When I'm Old and Other Stories a few years ago, and although I forgot about it many times since then, I would always re-remember it fiercly. I had completely forgotten, actually, the name of the book, and the author, but I would try to get people to remember it for me by saying "You know, that book with a lot of stories in the end there's one about a flood where a man takes a woman to safety and they sleep together for warmth and then he di ...more
While hardly breaking any new ground, Lucky is an enjoyable albeit extremely lightweight read.


Gabrielle Bell experiments with some heavier inking in the middle of the book, but for the most part her clean lines evoke comparisons to John Porcellino. However, she certainly doesn't share the same sparse narrative style. The beginning pages of Lucky are cramped and overflowing with text, but as it progresses the author trims down her panel and word count for more pleasing results.


May 16, 2008 Meghan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my friends
Recommended to Meghan by:
The other day this popped up in my recommendations box on and reminded me that it's been a while since I'd read a graphic novel. Without checking to see what it was about, I added it to my requests queue at the public library and picked it up a couple days later.

My first impressions when I opened the book were unmoving. The illustrations were simple, and the panels were over-stuffed with narration. But only a few pages into it, my opinion shifted radically. Gabrielle Bell's cartoons--
Mar 13, 2013 Tam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm so excited to be introduced to a new Comics artist. I picked this up randomly at Bergen Street comics. I was drawn into it pretty quickly, in the way that one is when the art is pleasing and the voice is so natural. The things that happen are pretty normal and work-a-day--at least in the life of a freelancer or young person transition into the "grown-up" world. So at first it was just charming and entertaining. Then gradually it became more and more amusing. And suddenly I found myself laugh ...more
Jul 28, 2011 Megan rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
Do you like being mildly voyeuristic? Do you like semi-autobiographical comics? How about blogs? Do you like blogs?
While the daily paper is now simply a graveyard from comics and a place for Peanuts to rerun forever the interweb is teeming with good comics.
After winning an Ignatz for best mini-comic (yes, its a thing) Gabrielle got this collection of many mini comics published by D&Q.
She has deft insight and an eye for detail. Also at times she gets a bit surrealistic, which I love. Best
George Marshall
Dec 18, 2010 George Marshall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like Gabrielle Bell and I think her pace, quirky humour and insight work wonderfully well in this medium- she is also a deceptively simple but actually excellent comic artist. it is true that nothing much happens, but that's real life, and the joy is in her personal take on that.
I agree with some of the other criticisms- yes she can be immature (the retard comments were really lame) and miss her target, and yes I would prefer a topic other than 20-somethings in New York but overall thi
Mar 11, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
Finally a graphic novel about being an adult! (See review of Potential) I really loved these stories about Gabby and her struggle to be an artist in New York right after she graduates college. Although I don't live in New York, I still related as she tries to find a job that supports her and her art without losing her soul. The themes she investigates with her comics are classic twenty-something, from freaking out about a dead end job that has nothing to do with your degree, to worrying about wr ...more
Why have I never read this book? I have to admit that the introduction got my hopes up that the book would become more juicy as I read on (it seems to be what the intro implies), so after I read the first part, I was a little let down that I didn't enjoy the last two parts quite as much. But still, it was an enjoyable read. The first part just seemed the most personal and honest, which are qualities I really look for in autobio comics. The latter portions of the book were more sophisticated art- ...more
Jul 27, 2011 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
why do I love gabrielle bell? deceptively simple, beautifully essential -- her work reveals her soul thru diary-like anecdotes but without the usual manipulative angst, anger or attitude usually inseparable from that genre. you will find your hands & eyes moving of their own accord to return to the pages again & again, as if some silent, elusive all-encompassing answer lies within, and perhaps it does. "Lucky" resembles a miracle more than a "product" and has that rarest of qualities: no ...more
Emilia P
Jun 02, 2012 Emilia P rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comic-books
This was very sweet in a dull and real way, and got sweeter as it went along, and was perfect for an almost-but-not-quite rainy day. I read my review of the other thing I read by her that I didn't like much -- and this, in its diary comic with restraint -- straddles the line between the abstract and the very real pretty well. Plus her restrained style of illustration reminded me more of a busier John Porcellino than last time. Plus I like him a lot and I didn't last time. So, way to go G.B. you' ...more
Destiny Dawn Long
Bell's simple style allows any reader to find a connection with the characters populating her world. Most people can relate to horrible jobs, bad roommates, and the overwhelming monotony of the mundane--especially people who have lived in NY. I like this collection of life moments, collected in a single volume. And really, I love how she doesn't try to impose some overarching story or plot to her own life--rather she accepts the haphazardness of life.
Read on the back steps in a rare pocket of sun that comes out around noon and lasts for an hour or so in January. Finished in the living room later the same day, nighttime, under a yellow and brown plaid wool blanket. Perfect winter reading, the introspective diaristic narrative propells me through seasons of time; Gabby's adventures of seemingly mundane daily activities alleviates my own malaise and bouys my spirit.
Jul 24, 2007 Brad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like American Elf or Carnet de Voyage
Shelves: comics, non-fiction
Bell creates a very compelling diary comic; it's a more grown-up American Elf, or less exotic Carnet de Voyage. Bell spends most of the book trying to find a decent place to live, and ways to make money. It's mundane, but it is gripping. Craig Thompson, the author of Carnet, wrote a blurb on the back.
The art style reminds me most of Megan Kelso, though her simple faces are also reminiscent of Thompson's simpler art.
Apr 16, 2009 Masha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of the 2 volumes of Gabrielle Bell I read (courtesy of Hubcap) this is my favorite, though it takes place in NY rather than SF (see "When I'm Old..." for SF-based stories). The style of Lucky has an artistic and narrative honesty plus ease that kept me flippin' through. Loved the story of tutoring the oversexed young French boys. And the hole in the bathroom wall that became a vortex for her relationship.
Aug 23, 2010 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
I read this book a while back and was surprised it was not on my list. I really love Gabrielle Bell's autobiographical comics. This book is a collection of those comics.

She utilizes a simple line drawing style in these comics, which is refreshing. As always her stories are interesting, at times funny, at times sad.

Well worth checking out.
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Gabrielle Bell was born in England and raised in California. In 1998, she began to collect her “Book of” miniseries (Book of Sleep, Book of Insomnia, Book of Black, etc), which resulted in When I’m Old and Other Stories, published by Alternative Comics. In 2001 she moved to New York and released her autobiographical series Lucky, published by Drawn and Quarterly. Her work has been selected for the ...more
More about Gabrielle Bell...

Other Books in the Series

Lucky (3 books)
  • Lucky, Volume 2 #1
  • Lucky, Volume 2 #2

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