Distressed Beeping: Andi Watson’s Single-Page Comics

I’ve been a fan of Andi Watson’s work since the mid-90s, when he came to attention with the Skeleton Key series. In the 200s, his Breakfast After Noon and Slow News Day were wonderful examples of how comics could tell stories of everyday lives. More recently, his kids’ fantasy graphic novels Glister and Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula I found adorably creative.

I was a little worried when his latest book for adults, The Book Tour, didn’t click for me. (Anything described as Kafka-esque is generally not for me, though.) I ordered Distressed Beeping from him directly anyway, with fingers crossed, and I loved it.

It’s a collection of his weekly one-page strips published originally via his Patreon in 2021 and 2022, in a small, handsome hardcover. The comics are short, slice-of-life stories, with topics ranging from what he and his family watch to maintaining a house and garden (during pandemic – although it’s rarely mentioned, people are drawn with masks at times and we see him going to get his jab).

Distressed Beeping cover

There are strips about day trips out and small bits about the life of a cartoonist. Sometimes he fantasizes about other comic characters for some visual silliness. Other times he visits bookshops.

It’s all pleasingly normal, and just what I needed to read — funny things about everyday life with a comfy art style. The lumpy little people remind me of Fisher-Price figures, and they’re charming. The simplicity feels welcoming to me as a reader. The soft pastel colors help, too.

Highly recommended for anyone who likes diary comics or similar. There’s a lot of good variety here and some clever observations. The title, by the way, refers to what a robot vacuum cleaner does when trapped behind the sofa.

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