This is a collection of short comics (which follow on loosely) about the difficulties of raising a child, family life and trying to be an artist but most of it could apply to other creatives equally. The stories cover all the different aspects of family life competing with creativity from little distractions to kid’s sick days and in laws having a go at you for not being a breadwinner. The fact that the artist is male as well gives it an added depth as it challenges the perception of how society looks at stay at home parents. This is an inspirational book where Tariq (the artist) rather than letting the obstacles get him done, accepts and tries to adapt to them for instance when the school is closed due to a burst water pipe he takes his daughter to an art museum and they draw together that way he doesn’t feel like he’s ostracising her. While the book dialogue sounds like a self-help book at parts the inclusion of a creative Muse spirit creature makes it more a work of fiction. The Muse is an interesting character in that he’s occasionally helpful, easily agitated a bit in the beginning and at times depressive. In other words, he’s a lot more human than Tariq who seems too nice but also subdued kind of like Cleveland from Family Guy. The narration squares whilst telling us what people like and seeming a bit obtrusive are good at demonstrating quickly how everyone is different just like the splash page (last page) of Tariq’s Turn to Talk story where it has everyone with their Muses.
Like the stories and use of Muses themselves, the layout is interesting like the part of the story Survival Guide To Working From Home With Kids with the different aspects of living at home drawn with a background of a house and the words following all around the house with the images. The different appearances of Tariq’s Muse to exemplify his feelings and help Tariq are amusing like the Genie from Aladdin he transforms himself into everything from a calculator to a ladder. I’ve not seen such a variety of backgrounds before in a comic but it works as it’s about showing how Tariq sees the world and his daughter’s drawings. It also distracts from the self-help element dialogue and narration which makes it more readable. One final note on the art is it’s a bit simplistic for my liking with its blocky figures but the backgrounds and the colours can’t be faulted as they suit the story perfectly.
Overall, this is a unique comic with its self-help truthful stories which inspire and are told in an imaginative art style.
David Jenkins write comics, short stories and screenplays in all spec genres as well as historical fiction. He regularly blogs about writing, the horror genre and reviews at several sites including Bloodshed and Comic Book News UK. His first Kickstarter campaign for Vampires Of Hungary will start in mid-march for more info follow David on social media at https://www.facebook.com/davidjenkinswriter and https://twitter.com/davidjenkwriter.