Review of Me Likes You Very Much

I like Lauren Barnett’s Me Likes You Very Much, a collection of the artist’s daily webcomics spanning from 2008-2012, very much. I’ll openly admit I was initially wary of Barnett’s plethora of talking fruits and birds. The art is sketchy and goofy and the novel is a motley collection of seemingly unrelated strips depicting inanimate objects conversing with each other. But Me Likes You Very Much grows on you very quickly. It grows on you to the point where you’re suddenly laughing out loud and handing the book to your friends saying, “This is exactly how I feel about recycling. Exactly how I feel.”

It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to realize that Me Likes You Very Much is a thoughtful commentary on friendship and relationships thinly veiled by sketchily drawn birds with potty mouths.

The birds speak what we as people—as friends and significant others—are actually thinking about one another. The characters speak candidly  (“I’m so sick of looking at your face every day” or “You are so boring. I am bored to death. Literally, I am probably minutes away from death because of you”) in a way we all sometimes wish we had the guts for. One of my favorite strips depicts a white bird commenting on a blue bird’s breakfast choice. “Bagels are really fattening,” he says, and the blue bird replies, “Well I thought you were a stupid asshole and I guess I was right.” Because we’ve probably all been in a situation like this and couldn’t react as honestly or as rudely as the blue bird (even though we wanted to), it’s nice to live vicariously through the comic strip. When you read Me Likes You Very Much, you can indulge in the rudeness and truth of the characters without actually messing up your own karma.

Scattered through the collection are full-page sketches of animals who speak in large bubble letters. These pages act as monologues, as the characters admit something brutally deep about themselves. I connected particularly with the image of a goldfish, frowning and thinking, “nobody loves me even though I’m effing gorgeous.” What may be so appealing about this sketch is the irony that a silly drawing of a blue goldfish could relate to a very real human concern: that we aren’t loved and that maybe we never will be even if we are the most gorgeous person in the world.

I’ve certainly seen prettier art, and I’ve certainly seen better technical use of sequential elements. But the art does what it needs to do. It complements the tone of the writing. While the art is no masterpiece, it’s greatest asset is that it doesn’t get in the way of the writing, something that happens far too often in comic books.

If Barnett can convince me in a matter of minutes that talking birds and veggies can reveal something about the human condition, there isn’t any doubt it my mind that $14 is a small price to pay for this graphic novel.

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Comic Books 101: The Finale

My Comic Books 101 series, which detailed all the wisdom I learned from my comic book writing class this past semester, sort of faded away without much explanation. Long story short: I graduated.

Happily, I finished the class with a professional portfolio that contained the entire script for my graphic novel Fusion (which, admittedly, I also wrote as my senior thesis in English), the first six pages penciled and inked by an artist, a springboard, and other goodies (like character profiles, visual references, etc.). So while I’m certainly no expert at the comic creating process, I’m at least considerably more experienced than I was four months ago.

So here’s my plan. This post will act as my transition from the Comic Books 101 series to my new series, I Can Write a Comic Book and So Can You! (which will detail the adventure of creating my first ever graphic novel).

And to pretend like this post contains serious content, here’s a list of what you’ve learned in Comic Books 101:

Resources for Comic Creators

Writer-Artist Collaboration

Selling Your Comic

Breaking Into the Comic Book Industry

Writer Rights

The Elements of an Effective Comic

Pearls of Wisdom

Comics Are…

Noir Comics Fashion Style Guide

By Sarah Spoto, Contributing Writer

The theme for this genre-inspired fashion guide is Noir. Think Dick Tracey, V for Vendetta, and Sin City. For this selection, I’ve focused on creating a dark, sexy, and dramatic look. The whole look is anchored by a classic staple: the simple trench. Edgy, no?

Sarah is an art and business student who enjoys the occasional graphic novel and the more than occasional Marvel hero movie. She is pursuing a career in the fashion and apparel industry.

Manga Style Fashion Guide

By Sarah Spoto, Contributing Writer

I’m not going to tell you how to dress “bohemian” or “feminine” or how to get that perfect outfit for Valentine’s Day. You have fashion magazines for that, and this is a comic book blog—a comic book blog for women, which means I’ve put together a guide to reinvent your wardrobe with comic genre-inspired pieces. And since I am a big fan of Japanese fashion, I’ve chosen manga as the first genre.

In case you don’t know, manga is the Japanese word for comics but has come to mean (for us English-speakers) a comic produced in Japan. Manga’s art has a unique style, just like Japanese fashion. In terms of manga fashion, a school uniform is probably the most common outfit you’ll see any character wearing.  The second most common outfit is sailor. My picks are collected from the always-trendy selections of Akira and Asos.

What genre would you like to see next? Noir? Horror? Superhero? 

Sarah is an art and business student who enjoys the occasional graphic novel and the more than occasional Marvel hero movie. She is pursuing a career in the fashion and apparel industry.