Monday, 22 September 2014

How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love Comics

I've been flat-out on non-comics work for the last month or so, but I'm breaking radio silence for a moment to bring you this important message...

I've met Dani Abram precisely one time for a grand total of less than sixty seconds (just after a talk by David Hine in Bristol), and my primary recollections of that sub-minute encounter are an impressive flurry of energy, an explosion of red hair and being introduced to a nearby, unsuspecting innocent as "Cy Dethan - Argh!"

For the benefit of anyone who doesn't know her name already, Dani's a dangerously talented artist and animator whose professional work you've very probably seen in The Pirates in an Adventure with Scientists (or The Pirates! Band of Misfits if you're in the US), where she did lip sync animation. She's also the artist of Razarhawk and has worked on The Pride Adventures, Bayou Arcana and a bunch of other cool stuff - including her own webcomic, Worry Wart, which is the reason I've gathered you all here today.

Dani was down to two copies of the collected Worry Wart on her Comicsy shop when I managed to score mine, selling through her entire inventory in a week. If you're the least bit plugged in, that ought to tell you something. Worry Wart isn't the most expensive book I've bought this year, nor is it the most aggressively promoted.

It is, however, almost certainly the most important.

Dani was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder in 2009, working her way through a range of treatments and coping mechanisms and coming out stronger for the struggle. Worry Wart is less a roadmap of the journey she took than a series of snapshots of some of the landmarks, crossroads and dark, blind alleys she negotiated along the way. The book ranges from the fearlessly personal to the supremely practical. It's inspiring, eye-opening and, in places, legitimately heart-breaking.

Structurally, the book is sort of an illustrated diary, with text passages running alongside the artwork. Dani's art has the kind of raw emotional content that only a skilled cartoonist can manage, but there's nothing cynical or manipulative in the way it's delivered - just a painful honesty that drives the whole book.

Listen - I don't write a lot of reviews on this blog, so when I post one it's because I feel strongly about it. Worry Wart is important, so just fucking buy the thing, okay?

You can find Dani on Twitter and Facebook, and buy from her directly at her Comicsy shop.
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