Sunday, November 11, 2012

So, this is what it's come to...

Written by Liz Prince, Leslie Perrine, Jim Kettner, and Ramsey Beyer
Illustrated by Liz Prince, Leslie Perrine, Jim Kettner, and Ramsey Beyer
Self-Published

Four mini-comic/zine creators talk about their experiences about using OK Cupid in this anthology mini-comic that reminds me why I am incredibly happy to be married.

Dating sucks, and it seems like it sucks worst for people who don't easily conform to societal norms.  Naturally, that defines quite a few comics creators and zinesters, which in turn makes for material that autobiographical cartoonists like Prince can use to make for interesting stories.

Ms. Prince leads off, speaking briefly of the problems of online dating and turning a person's life into data points, as well as the problems inherent in being relatively well-known.  Written like an extension of her four-panel comics, the usual unburdening mixed with a sharp wit is present throughout.

I can definitely relate to over-analysis, as it almost prevented me from ever asking Erica out, and it seems to plague Leslie Perrine, if her first short story is any indication.  The second features a mysterious flirtation, which I am curious to see how it turned out,, but alas, that's not in this comic.

The story of Jim Kettner is more text-heavy than the rest, as he illustrates a date gone wrong with a girl that seems to be all wrong for a person who wants to hang out in a graveyard with a Ouija Board and watch A-Team re-runs.  The mis-adventure builds as it goes, making one wonder just how much a person is willing to go through just to make out.  Apparently, the answer is a lot.

Finishing out the mini is Ramsey Beyer, who finds that casual dating just isn't for her, as she rejects requests and realizes she's trying to make the best of it.  I completely understood what she meant about feeling like the dating pool was small and, as with Leslie Perrine's story, I wonder just what happens next for her with the person she ends up trying to date.

As with quite a few of the autobiographical comics that I read, all four of these story put a priority on the story over the art.  The illustrations are basic, but effective, with each artist using simple lines and comic exaggerations to get their points across, often using tight panels that focus on the faces of the characters and their expressions.  Fans of creators such as Jeffrey Brown will quickly recognize this style and find it works for them.  Those who require the art to be slick or refined probably will be turned off, however.

Though I don't ever plan to date again, I remember how hard it was for me.  These comics are for those of us who just don't find the experience rewarding and want to share stories.  That's mini-comic work at its best, and for those that like this part of the genre, this one is highly recommended if you can find a copy.

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