Written, drawn, and published by Mike King
Sometimes, it is easy to forget that comics can be more than just entertainment. They can be art, catharsis, an escape from reality, or whatever we need them to be. As you stray further and further away from mainstream comics, you get more and more books that are heartfelt, often somewhat autobiographical attempts at making sense of the world – books that are important to one’s mental well-being and general sanity. Mike King’s work is one of these. As you read, you can feel his need to create, the emotion with which he imbues every panel on every page. He recently collected a year’s worth of work, the first five issues of his zine Lion’s Teeth, as well as Teen Wizard and a few smaller creations, into one gigantic book titled How I Learned to Live Forever.
This book is much more about personal growth than it is about character development or plot. As you read, you can feel how immensely King grew as a cartoonist and as a person in the relatively short period of time he has collected within the pages. Comics, to him, are a need, a compulsion, and you can feel that intense love for the medium in every drawing (even the ones he admits to being reluctant to include). The book is entertaining - enjoyable, funny, and thoughtful throughout, and feels almost validating. Seeing King’s passion for comics can make you think about how you feel about the medium, love and life, friendship and camaraderie, and about how great comics really are.
If you ever have the pleasure of meeting Mike, he will insist that you don’t wait, that you make everything you want to make. His work gives you the feeling you can do just that, like you can create whatever you want, and that it is totally possible to achieve your goals and strive for more. Mike King is the kind of person you want to be reading when you start making comics, and this book is a perfect place to start.