Author: Matt Barrell
Publish Date: 2018
Publisher: Menard Press
Where to buy: https://inpressbooks.co.uk/products/nightmare-scenarios
Author website: mattbarrell.co.uk
Guest review by Eric Hoffman
Matt Barrell is a London-based comic book artist with schizophrenia. In his short but powerful comic, Nightmare Scenarios, he provides twenty-four one panel-per-page depictions of the inner life of Londoners suffering from mental illness. There are no word balloons; the primitive yet effective illustrations, accompanied by first-person captions, provide a claustrophobic firsthand depiction of the disconnectedness of mental illness, of being trapped inside one’s own head, and the confusion and difficulty of interacting with a society which one is a part of, yet also apart from. Each page of Barrell’s comic presents a single frozen moment in time, ranging from the commonplace to the bizarre, and depicts a character’s inability to move out from or break free of their various mental prisons. This is a work of dread, yet ultimately of hope. There is despair, but also hints of salvation, and transcendence. Precise, enlightening, and compelling.