I'd Sure Like Some Fucking Pancakes/Secret Weirdo (self-published)

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Lauren Barnett offers up a pair of funny, poignant minicomics.

 

16/20 pgs., b/w; $2.00/$5.00
(W / A: Lauren Barnett)
 
The inside front cover of Lauren Barnett's I'd Sure Like Some Fucking Pancakes is a surprisingly well-drawn cartoon bird holding a sign up that says "Sometimes it is just the right time to do exactly what you have wanted to do for such a goddamned long time you almost, ALMOST, totally forgot to do it, except now you did." The bird holds, folded into his other wing, another sign that says "GOOD JOB!!" and that approximately sums up how that and Secret Weirdo, Barnett’s other book, will make you feel. You're going to laugh, you're going to smile and you're going to think of that one time—yeah, that one—that you felt like that, too.
 
Barnett's Pancakes, published first, veers wildly from what seems like an illustrated list of worries that could belong to any woman in any city to a dark tale of unicorns lost in the city. The title, I'd Sure Like Some Fucking Pancakes, comes from a page in which she explains that pancakes are one of those things that always taste better when someone else makes them. The title of the book seems like almost a defiant admission. I hate to become one of those pretentious reviewers who is reading too much into too little but who hasn't felt that way, that longing for someone to take care of that one teensy little thing? And there's a story about chickens that is, as promised, magic.
 
Secret Weirdo, a book that starts out with a cry for equality in art, covers some of Barnett's childhood, starting with her tale of mini-mogulship and Trapper Keepers, and moves to her urban alter-ego and friend in an episode of The Adventures of Master Driver and Navigirl. It seems equally personal but in a more straightforward way. Her recounting of some sick day science especially made me smile. Who hasn't gotten tired of daytime talk shows on a sick day and decided to see what they could get up to without having to put on proper pants?
 
Barnett's art veers wildly from the incredibly proficient to the endearingly one-dimensional. The front and back covers are in color and while I prefer the framed pancakes on I'd Sure Like Some Fucking Pancakes, I have to admit that the abstract front cover and back cover drawing of a bird on Secret Weirdo is worthy of being framed on a wall. The interior artwork is fairly simple and black and white. Oddly, Barnett's people typically seem one-dimensional and flat but her locations and backgrounds show beautiful perspective. She excels at animals, both birds scattered throughout and in the unicorn tale, and hands, which is a striking detail in both books.
 
I would recommend these books to anyone except young teenagers since there's some saucy language, but would especially recommend them to my fellow ladies out there. There's so much here that resonates in strangely meaningful ways, from the illustrated fear that diet drinks will kills us all to bff adventures. Barnett seems to draw for the sheer love of it and that's reflected in her work—both books are a joy to read. | Erin Jameson
 
Sample Lauren Barnett’s work at her blog, http://www.melikesyou.blogspot.com/.
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