Worms #2, XO #4, Lost Kisses #6

When comic writer Brian John Mitchell describes his series of comics as minis the size of a matchbook, he’s not kidding. Individually wrapped in little plastic baggies and bound by two teeny staples in their spines, they’re two inches in height and our own food. It also talks about finding joy in the simple things, and that sometimes a mental detox is the best medicine.

It’s also a collection of beautiful drawings and delicately mastered digital paintings made of nothing but pixels. I think the artwork is the best part of this zine (although I wish I had skipped the doctor-pizza comic and kept that minute of my life to myself). The artwork makes this zine great, and it could be greater if that was what it focused on, as well as offering realistic solutions to everyday problems instead of angsting and moaning about them. Or, better yet, do the angst and moan part, width. And you don’t need a magnifying glass to read them, which makes them instantly awesome.

If that doesn’t sell you, how ’bout the fact that each series is the brainchild of a musician, comic illustrator or tattoo artist?

The first series, Lost Kisses, is written and drawn by Mitchell. Issue #6 is unique as it’s a split: the front half addresses the pros of staying in a toxic relationship, while the back half addresses the cons. Despite its simplicity in design and illustration (stick figures), the comic tackles the emotionally troubling issues that many couples face.

XO is the second comic series and is a collaboration between Mitchell and comic artist Melissa Gardner. This one has the most elaborate artwork of the various series and I love it because it plays on the same kind of humour as TV’s Dexter. It’s about an ex-hitman who’s trying to reintegrate into normal society. But wherever he goes, he finds himself in a situation that ends in him murdering someone. Worms, the third series, is written by Mitchell and drawn by tattoo artist Kimberlee Traub. Based on the classic escape-the-corrupt-hospital theme, issue #2 is written in the vain of Poe, Kafka or Lovecraft, with references to the latter two if you’re dorky enough to catch them (sorry, no Cthulhu cameos). It’s all very surreal, really, and I sure as heck wouldn’t want to wind up there. (Amy Greenwood)

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