After a very quiet few months the last few weeks have seen a near deluge of crowdfunding coverage requests. As ever, we have only been able to give a minute number of them time on the site but it’s important when selecting titles to spotlight here that we don’t just focus on the higher profile comics and collections but actively seek out those grassroots level projects too.
Elizabeth Querstret’s zines and small press comics have featured prominently at BF over the years. Sometimes humorous and ephemeral, sometimes poignant and introspective, she commits her thoughts to the page with immediacy and candour. Her latest comic is currently funding on Kickstarter. My Grief: Life During Lockdown 2020 is Querstret’s response to the events of the last six months, no doubt echoing feelings and reactions we have all known in that time.
Beginning with that moment we all remember in March when office working ended (for what we thought would be a handful of weeks before normality returned) My Grief is a stream-of-consciousness collection of thoughts, reactions and shared experiences. It’s not structured in strict narrative terms but rather presents a series of vignettes of Querstret and her partner’s lives in that time. The despair of doom-scrolling, the attempts to distract ourselves, the moments of hopelessness in the face of extreme adversity, but also crucially those chinks of occasional light in the darkness are all explored with a pensive and perceptive eye for detail.
By focusing on her own isolated world Querstret ironically speaks volumes about the wider one surrounding it. Her art here is far more detailed and considered than some of her more humorous autobiographical diary comics of the past but still retains that sense of being in the moment that characterises much of her comics output. My Grief is her most human, and arguably her strongest, self-published work to date. It asks us to reflect on our own experiences over these last few months to find our own truths within them and embrace them. “I wish to own my grief with pride” she says in a touching coda to the comic. A sentiment we can all, no doubt, empathise with as these troubling times continue.
Review by Andy Oliver