Courtesy of goodreads.com

In Unterzakhn, the two main characters are twin immigrants Fanya and Esther. The two are brought up in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early 1900s and their story is told in a back and forth fashion between the different lifestyles that they are each living and headed towards. Their choices mirror that of many young immigrant girls growing up in tenements and the same part of town by the lack of education they have and all that is kept from them.

What truly started each of the girls off in the paths that they ended up in was their mother. Since most immigrants are traditional, the twins’ mother oc  culted a lot from them and in turn they never learned a lot about being a woman so they were left to try to figure that out on their own. Fanya was left to figure out the mysteries of sex and babies through her job with an abortion doctor while Esther was left to figure out sex as a job through her job at a brothel. Their mother didn’t want them to be educated and I could only imagine that that was the case for most immigrant’s growing up in the Lower East Side, so they were left to fend for themselves and discover things in not so good places. Most girls probably took the paths that these twins did just out of lack of knowledge or money and the graphic novel portrays the two lifestyles perfectly when juxtaposing them.


(Another) Journey To Forbidden Planet


It was 5:45 on a Saturday evening and I went into one of my frequent visited shops when I head to Manhattan, Forbidden Planet. I’m a fan of the store and I always end up dropping by after I visit my favorite bookstore that’s right next door. So, I walked in after a trip to Strand (the bookstore) with my best friend by my side, but this time I was on a mission to observe. We walked up and down the aisles as we took in the crowd in the back of the store. I observed a journal which was meant to look like the rug from The Big Lebowski and made a mental note to come back and buy it while my best friend, Noori, made note of the comic book series she read in middle school that was right in front of her.

We’ve been there plenty of times before so all we really observed was that it’s busier later in the day and especially on the weekends. Since I knew nothing out of the usual was going to jump out at me because it wasn’t going to be my first time visiting the awesome store, I decided to interview an employee there. I was in a desperate bustle to find someone that wasn’t already occupied, the first person that came to mind was the nice looking guy by the door but my friend and I kept looking in the back of the store. Of course, every employee that ever passed me was super busy and Noori kept insisting I just come back another day. I decided to go over to the guy that I decided upon long before and it turns out I made the best decision because Will, the employee I wanted to interview from the get-go, was the sweetest guy I could’ve asked to interview and it was so much fun to actually do! I did feel bad though because I was dressed terribly with a baseball cap and I looked super suspicious because I didn’t clean up nicely for my trip there, when in reality my hair got messed up during work in the morning and there was frizz everywhere so I had to cover up, sorry Will! So without further ado, here is my totally non-verbatim interview (because the notes I took were chicken scratch) with Will from Forbidden Planet (!!!):

P.S. Will if you’re reading this you’re my favorite employee at Forbidden Planet and thank you for the maybe seven(?) minutes of your valuable time and sorry if I mess up some of the following answers

Marcela: What’s a day like in your position? Basically what’s your job description?
Will: I basically handle all types of Customer Service operations.
(So he gave me a way longer and more thorough answer than this, but I took the worst notes)

M: What made you want to work here?
W: My love for comics. I’m a huge comic book fan.

Side Note: I’m making Will sound very bland but he was the absolute nicest and best guy to talk to so if you see him tell him “Marcela says hi,” and then chat with him cause he’s great

M: First comic book ever read or owned?
W: First comic book… I can’t remember the exact first but it had to be somewhere along the lines of X-Men for sure.

M: Favorite comic book series?
W: Oh Punisher, for sure.

M: Best time of the day to be here? You know, like the best environment?
W: Best time of the day? I mean, I guess in the afternoon, you can see how busy it is now and on weekends it gets super busy. Monday through Friday really, afternoons.

M: If you could change one thing about the store what would it be?
W: Nothing.

M: Have any celebrities come in?
W: Oh all the time! Yeah, they always come in you know and we greet them, help them out if they need or we let them be.
M: What celebrities have you seen?
W: Uh, Seth Green, you know from Robot Chicken, Mark Ruffalo, you know the Incredible Hulk, Finn Bálor from the WWE.
M: That’s so cool. So do you guys take photos with them?
W: Sometimes, yeah. We feel them out before we ask them for one. We don’t wanna be intrusive.

M: Most thought provoking comic that you’ve read?
W: Thought provoking… Saga, a sci-fi comic series that I’ve read. It’s really good if you wanna check it out.

I then thanked Will for his time and for answering all my questions. Once again, he was the nicest guy I could’ve asked to meet and interview. The store was busy and it kept getting busier as Noori and I left. The store has more than just books, there’s apparel, home decor, and more. The workers by the cash registers seemed to be having a laugh a lot, and the ones working the floor were friendly and patient with everyone. I heard people speaking all types of languages, showing the diversity within the customers, and the environment overall is always the best.

Forbidden Planet is my personal favorite comic book (and more) store, especially since they actually carry Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics yay! A girl needs her Joss Whedon fix.