Non-Fiction Minicomics From TCAF

Ink for Beginners by Kate Leth

I love non-fiction comics, and I got a handful of great ones from various creators at TCAF last month. Here are the quick descriptions.

Trepanation: Elective Surgery You Need Like a Hole in the Head by Emi Gennis. Turns out this reprints a comic that appeared at The Nib, so you can read it yourself. (Only online is in color, so more red for blood.) And if you’re not already familiar with the odd practice of trepanning, putting a hole in one’s skull to supposedly reduce pressure, cure depression, and achieve an altered state of consciousness — be prepared to be amazed at what people will do to themselves.

Ink for Beginners by Kate Leth

Ink for Beginners: A Comic Guide to Getting Tattooed by Kate Leth. Available on Amazon in print or ComiXology digitally. It’s a beautifully colored guide that aims to answer the common questions, including how much it hurts, how to choose the art, and how to take care of it afterwards. Leth includes comments by professionals, too, for more perspective.

The Film Empire Records From Memory by Cyn Why? The inside page explains that the author was on codeine after having her tonsils out and decided to draw what the title explains. I discovered this just before I left the show, and since I also adore the film, and since I was kind of punchy after two comic-filled days, we enthused about it together. The commentary is hilarious, particularly the running theme of “seriously, how the hell do these people retain their jobs?”

Not on My Watch

Not on My Watch: A Bystanders’ Handbook for the Prevention of Sexual Violence by Isabella Rotman. She’s created several health, wellness, and safer sex comics as a way to substitute for the usual dry pamphlet and reach college-age kids. This one came with a button proclaiming the wearer part of the “Consent Cavalry”; her You’re So Sexy When You Aren’t Transmitting STDs comes with a condom on the back. Not on My Watch is a substantial, text-heavy, 40-page handbook with lots of wisdom on consent, fighting rape culture, and speaking out included.

The Man Who Built Beirut

The Man Who Built Beirut by Andy Warner reminded me how old I am, since it features a pull quote from me on the back that I didn’t remember at all — but it is the case that I did like the comic three years ago.

3 travelogue comics by Neil Slorance. Another memory-jogger, but this time I remembered the Scottish author, who’d sent me one of his previous comics. These three — “Nine Lines of Metro”, “Seven Days in Berlin”, and “Let’s Go to Bordeaux” — are sketchier, closer to diary comics, but the feelings and experiences are neat to share, particularly since they wind up telling one big story. “Metro” has him visiting a friend in Barcelona; “Berlin” follows it with a potential love interest in Germany; and “Bordeaux” involves visiting a girlfriend’s family in France. It’s deceptive, but I feel like I know him better after reading them, and I hope the best for him.

Florodora: The Forgotten Drink of Broadway Showgirls! by Bill Roundy, noted bartoonist. After explaining the history of the drink, introduced in 1901, the recipe (here’s a similar version) finishes up the comic. Turns out that it’s named after the musical that first introduced a chorus line of beautiful women, all of whom married millionaires. I’d love to see more comics like this, with drink history!

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