Written and Illustrated by Zoe Thorogood
Published by Image Comics
Zoe Thorogood created a smash-hit comic with, The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott.
This graphic novel is an autobiographical follow-up to Thorogood dealing with the fact that having success didn’t make everything better, and in fact sometimes she feels worse.
Thorogood is aware autobiographical comics tend to be most popular when the person telling their story is miserable, and she addresses that potential criticism multiple times.
She also knows that autobio comics can come across as one big, “masturbatory,” exercise of an author alternatively patting themselves on the back or flogging themselves for all to see in an awkwardly self-gratifying manner.
Basically, Thorogood knows everything you might say about her creating a comic chronicling six months of her life, and she isn’t going to argue with your assessments. She’s still going to make her comic and I’m glad she did as it’s damn good.
Thorogood bluntly portrays feelings of suicidal depression, isolation, and the general misery mental illness can bring us. She does all this with an illustrative style that alters itself without warning, giving us cartoony doodles, hyperrealistic inks, and segments that feel like found-art collages. It sounds a bit disorienting and it somewhat intentionally is as life is never straightforward and easy.
Thorogood adds some magical realism to her everyday life, drawing many people with anthropomorphic features, both to somewhat help protect the identities of the very real people she talks about and because this comic doesn’t hesitate to just get weird.
I admire Thorogood’s willingness to put herself on display so honestly, not making herself a heroic protagonist of her life so much as a victim of reality who’s struggling to do the best she can even as her own mind attempts to self-sabotage her without reprieve.
Plus, as I said, it all looks incredible and reads wonderfully.
It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth, is a fantastic graphic novel that offers a warts-and-all examination of the life of Thorogood over six months. Some of those times are eventful, and some are simply Thorogood locked in her room trying to get a handle on being a functional human. It’s sincere, brazen, and a fantastic book.
5 out of 5 stars