Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Adulthood Is a Myth by Sarah Andersen

There's nothing like a breezy book by a young person to make you feel really old. Sarah Andersen, from the evidence here in her first book, was still in school when she started making comics, nearly a decade ago, and there's a lot of young-people jokes here, about school and dating and freaking out about "what to do with your life."

So I'm feeling pretty old right now.

On the other hand, I did get to read Adulthood Is a Myth, which is cheery and fun: it's just the thing to put a smile on your face if you are, for example, feeling old. It's a good book that can be its own antidote, I guess.

I think the comics here were first posted on social media - was Instagram the thing around 2013-14? maybe there; maybe whatever was Instagram before Instagram was - and they're all the kinds of comics that work well in that context, quick relatable moments of doubt and insecurity, random complaints about the oddities of life, amusing examinations of one's own insecurities and foibles (in this case, mostly laziness, procrastination, and introversion), and random observations.

Andersen has a quick, cartoony style and draws herself really funny; it's a style that looks simple but takes a lot of effort to get right. (And a willingness to be the center of all of her jokes, in that traditional comedian way.) It's a fun style that works very well with her kind of jokes, and is really far from her traditional, mid-century illustrative style (lovely and lush in its own way), which may help some of the people who disdain cartoony art to understand this style is very much in purpose.

Andersen's comics work has become a minor cottage industry since this book was published in 2016: she has calendars and T-shirts and plushies and of course a couple of subsequent books. This material was syndicated for a while, but that seems to have ended - or maybe it used up all of the existing material, and will start again later; I've seen a number of things do that on GoComics. All of that is because she's funny and relatable; she makes comics that people like and respond to and want to incorporate into their lives.

But this book was first: all of the later stuff came about because Andersen did funny comics regularly that people liked, and then when she collected them here, even more people liked them. And they're still funny, and fun, comics all about a really young person doing a lot of really-young-person things. Even if you are one of The Olds, there's a very good chance you'll enjoy this as well.

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