There’s something about quiet, slice of life comics that scratch just the right itch for me. No matter how long or short, the incisively relatable stories that come from this genre serve as a gentle break from the high-tier action lunacy of popular comics.
Sleepwalking is ‘zine comic that comes in at just about 28 pages, and offers what can only be described as a warm, comedic, and truthful hug in comic book form.The story isn’t all that deep, or all that exciting, and that’s okay. We follow Clementine and a couple of friends through a day in their town’s local punk scene, navigating the troubles of wasted youth right alongside them.
What jumps out most about this short one-shot is how effective it is at telling a story without having to say a lot. We move from scene to scene at a very natural pace, one guided by Monger’s pitch perfect dialogue. The characters speak like real people, their conversations mixing with clear and concise artwork that allows the reader to infer so much about Clem and her world without having to know about any of it deeply. While this apart of Monger’s Clementine Comix series, this stands very well on its own.
So much of that is reliant on the art, which is super simple and well-drawn. The colors bring a lot to the lax, breathy tone of the story. Their water-paints, and do a lot to fill in the panel backdrops without Monger having to draw in a ton of detail. The author uses anthropomorphic animals for the characters in this book, and it immediately gives each character a way to stand out. There’s a masterful use of character design here to draw the reader in, each one reminiscent of someone you know or someone you’ve seen before.
There’s also a lot here to find relatable in such a small book. From the listlessness of goofing around with friends, to the awkwardness of seeing people you once loved at parties, Monger really captures the spirit of life in a way that is focused around the punk scene, but that could be relatable to anyone. Comedy has much to do with this, Monger having some really well timed jokes within her panel pacing.
2023 marks the 8th anniversary of this ‘zines printing, and as such Silver Sprocket has reprinted the book. If it’s at your local store when you go to pick your books, your find it relatively interesting, pick it up. It’s something strange yet familiar, offering a style of tone for comics you will right now only find in the underground scene.
Indie Spotlight: Lauren Monger’s Sleepwalking
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