In number XXV of his Introductory Lectures on Psycho-analysis, Sigmund Freud described anxiety as ‘a riddle whose solution would be bound to throw a flood of light on our whole mental existence’. While Terian Koscik’s new autobiographical comic, When Anxiety Attacks, has the more modest ambition of depicting her personal experiences of anxiety, she does succeed in giving an illuminating account of a condition for which she can testify there are no easy answers. The cover’s science-fiction scenario and punning title hint at the humour that underpins the storytelling, but belies the book’s concern with how small, everyday events can… Read More
This work in progress is being serialized online. Chapters 1-3 were published as a zine in Summer 2013. Chapters up to four available as of this posting here.
The funniest book about herpes you’ll read this year. Let me make my opinion clear from the outset: this book is superb. A work of genius. I don’t think anyone is able to graphically imbue their characters with such a sense of anxiety and dejection as Ken Dahl does. Many thanks to Martha Cornog for allerting me to the work of Gabby Shulz, a.k.a. Ken Dahl who, according to his blog, still plods on in a series of day jobs in order to pay the bills. He deserves great things, indeed he has just won an Ignatz Award for Monsters. This… Read More
Steve is a comic book writer who doesn’t like comics. He’s a bit of a grump and his life is not going well. His father has disappeared and his relationship with his partner Lisa is strained. He’s just been offered one of the most sought after jobs in the industry- the chance to write Superman but he’s thinking of turning it down. Steve’s family have a secret. His maternal grandmother died of Huntingdons Disease, a genetic movement disorder that comes on in middle age and is fatal after years of slow deterioration. There is no cure for it and it… Read More
Chris Ware does melancholy very, very well. I could read any of his many works and find themes of depression, alienation and anxiety within them. I have picked this one because it also deals specifically with disability. An unnamed girl, refered to as “Nanna” whilst working as a nanny for a middle class family, has suffered a below knee amputation after a road traffic accident in her teens. Her story was actually introduced to readers as one of Ware’s “buildings stories” in Acme Novelty Library 16. This volume covers her lonely life after leaving art school. Her self esteem is very… Read More
Blue Pills, by Swiss artist Frederick Peeters, chronicles his relationship with Cati, a wild, vivacious girl he meets at a New Years Party. They connect and become lovers. Before long Cati tells Fred that she and her three-year-old son are both HIV positive. He is filled with a mixture of passion, pity and desire, but he does his best to act cool. Although disconcerted, he wants the relationship to work, and so it does. The book charts Fred’s evolving relationship with Cati’s son, cataloguing his periods of illness, his stays in hospital and the routine of his medication- the blue… Read More
Not really a graphic novel as such, this is more like a picture book with captions. It is Matthew Johnstone’s visual account of what it is like to live with depression. It has been promoted for se by health professionals, depression sufferers and relatives. Taking inspiration from Winston Churchill’s term for his depression, Johnstone illustrates the ways that the black dog has affected him since his early twenties. Symptoms of depression such as anhedonia, loss of appetite, poor concentration and fatigue are represented visually, with the eponymous dog doing something in each picture to cause them. The pictures also show… Read More
In his introduction, Art Spiegelman credits Justin Green with inventing the genre of autobiographical comix and states explicitly that without Binky Brown there would have been no Maus. In its day there was (apparently) nothing else like this; Green paved the way for his better known peers, like Spiegelman and Robert Crumb. So without this book, all the others listed on this site might not have existed. I have to admit that this is probably my favorite book of all the one’s I have listed on this website. It was reprinted in 1995 after being unavailiable for 20 years. The… Read More