Was That Supposed To Be Funny? (self-published)

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Lauren Barnett illustrates her childhood diary and more in this minicomic collection of sublime vignettes.



22 pgs., B&W; $4.00
(W / A: Lauren Barnett)
Lauren Barnett's Was That Supposed To Be Funny?, a collection of vignettes varying from illustrated childhood diary entries to the trials and tribulations of apartment seeking in the city (with a few stops in the life of Louise the Cat in between), manages to dance the fine line between charming and cloying skillfully and without falling on the latter side of said line. The diary entries are almost difficult to read, but maybe that's because I was an oversexed teenager myself and I'm just looking back in agony. Hey, Lauren, I did that stuff, too, and completely agree that 15 and 25 are not the same and sometimes that sucks. Well, in the interest of disclosure, I didn't have a hermit crab at age eight because those were always just too freaky for me to keep at pets. Either way, I imagine most of us, ladies and gents, could find something to make us wince sympathetically and then chuckle a little in Barnett's latest offering.
Barnett's art tends, once again, to be charmingly basic with the occasional sublime moment thrown in there. The front cover features some beautifully washed-out (and slightly disturbing, on second glance) birds and the back cover is a bird tearing up at the prospect of ending the book. Barnett's covers are typically more of the “sublime” variety than her inner pages, which I love to pieces for their very imperfections. Lauren Barnett wants to tell you a story and she's not really worried about if the lines on her layouts are perfectly straight. Fortunately, her storytelling and quirky humor manage to make Was That Supposed To Be Funny? intriguing and, once again, a fairly universal book of our everydays, both basic and tumultuous. | Erin Jameson
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