Sinus Congestion

Today on the site, Rob Clough reviews the first two issues of Mike Freiheit's autobiographical minicomic, Monkey Chef.

The hook for Mike Freiheit's minicomics series Monkey Chef is a strong one: it's an account of time spent in South Africa, preparing food for monkeys at a sanctuary, as well as cooking food for the humans who worked there. A more conventional version of this story would be just a straight journal comic; the sheer novelty of the experience might have made it worthwhile in that form. However, Freiheit's approach is a more artful one, juxtaposing different events against each other in interesting ways. That said, the story is a fairly straightforward but episodic series of anecdotes and observations about his experiences that doesn't set out to make him look good. As Freiheit demonstrates, his time spent in South Africa was the epitome of a difficult but worthwhile experience.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Interviews & Profiles. Whit Taylor interviews Ellen Forney.

When I did Marbles, it took so much effort and so much emotional work that when I was done I felt like whatever I do next is not going to be a memoir. It’s going to be in the third person, and it’s not going to have to do with mental health. So I brought up another couple of topics, and nothing really struck me to do a book. In the interim, I got so much feedback from people who found Marbles helpful that it made me feel really purposeful. It took a few years for me to be able to come back and say, “I really like doing material about mental health and I feel like I have more to offer.” What I needed was a break from it and, in the interim, I feel like I became a mental health advocate or activist. I’m really excited about and comfortable with that role.

Someone has posted the audio from Ronald Wimberley's panel discussion with David Brothers at this year's TCAF.

—News. The NCS has announced this year's Reuben winners.

—Reviews & Commentary. The aforementioned Ronald Wimberley has written an interesting essay about Dilraj Mann's story in Island #15 (the one with Mann's highly controversial cover).

The fact that Dilraj’s cover is a part of the narrative makes the entire magazine, as an object, a part of the story. Dilraj is using the form to express the grand idea in the story.

As you may have already seen in this site's comments section, Paul Slade has found some intriguing hints that Andy Capp's Reg Smythe may be a strong influence on the work of Jaime Hernandez.

I’ve never seen Hernandez acknowledge any debt to Andy Capp in his interviews but, by whatever route the influence came, it’s clear the two men ended up using a very similar toolbox of quite specific cartooning techniques.