THOUGHT BUBBLE 2023! There was a time in the late 2000s when non-subject specific diary comics were everywhere in UK small press comics. At some point the seemingly ubiquitous self-publishing presence of autobio that wasn’t focussed on more topical experience slowly ebbed away. But I have always had a fondness for those diary-style offerings that aren’t necessarily looking to provide profound social commentary but, rather, exist to record the minutiae of their creators’ lives just… well just because, really.
Ready for Thought Bubble, Kama Mielczarek (aka Weird is the Best on social media) has collected a number of her own diary comics in One Year Older, previously available exclusively through her Patreon, into a one-shot 20-plus pager. Unlike many customary approaches to this subgenre Mielczarek’s one-page strips from 2022-2023 are of a monthly nature, encapsulating events in those weeks with scattered depictions of individual moments across the page.
Of course work like this is far less about “narrative” but about appreciating the illustration on an altogether different level. It’s built on the endearing quality of seeing elements of the creator’s world floating across a visual sea of memory, some disparate and others interconnected. Her creative practice, audiobooks listened to, meals eaten, places visited, comics events tabled at… there’s nothing particularly challenging here in terms of reading comprehension but the joy comes in seeing ourselves and the idiosyncrasies of our own lives reflected in Mielczarek’s.
The only break from the looser sequential pattern here is a more rigidly structured two-page strip from February 2022’s Hourly Comics Day which has a tighter, traditional, panelled structure. With their stripped back style and choice use of colour there’s something very soothing and comforting about the comics in One Year Older.
Kama Mielczarek (W/A) • Self-published
Kama Mielczarek is at Table A10 in the Dstlry Hall at Thought Bubble 2023
Review by Andy Oliver