Thinking of You (But Not Like In a Weird Creepy Way)
Thank goodness we still get book collections of webcomics, or I’d never have stumbled across this heart-warming and reassuring collection by Beth Evans.
Some might quibble with the term comics as applied to this style, but simplicity can be deceptive. In Thinking of You (But Not Like In a Weird Creepy Way), each panel is a page, and each features the most minimal lump creatures (as seen on the cover). The insight is impressive, however. A simple illustration accompanied by a statement of reassurance evokes more than either piece alone would.
The iconography is also elegant. For example, a scribble stands in for a tangle of feelings. It’s obvious, and yet perfect. The reader has space to put their own anxieties into the scribble, and the author’s message makes it through without needing detail. There’s also a recurring picture of the lump with a crown labeled with an affirmation.
Publicity mentions Evans’ goal “to make her readers feel seen, uplifted, and not so alone in the world,” and uses words like “validating” and “encouragement”. Such material risks becoming sappy or so universal as to be meaningless, but Evans, based on my experience, actually succeeds. She has a real skill in boiling down complicated emotions to those single-panel pages. She also takes the obvious beyond, as when a ghost labeled “embarrassing thing I did years ago” is answered with “please, I’m so much more cringey now.” I’ve seen plenty of everyday life strips that would have stopped with drawing the ghost, instead of recontextualizing it.
This book is comforting. The lump might be a lump, but it feels anxiety or pressure the same way we do, and that makes us not so alone. It got me to finally answer that email I’d been putting off and take a stab at fixing an over-long to-do list. Another page simply thanks the reader for being themselves, which is basic but sometimes just what’s needed. There’s an underlying honesty that makes the affirmations more believable, as Evans demonstrates that things aren’t always going to be happy or as intended.
(The publisher provided a review copy. Review originally posted at Good Comics for Kids.)