cover image It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth

It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth

Zoe Thorogood. Image, $12.99 trade paper (196p) ISBN 978-1-5343-2386-5

“I’m in a codependent relationship with my own work,” Thorogood worries in her raw and relentlessly imaginative graphic memoir, which bristles with self-awareness of the ample pitfalls of its genre. Following the release of her well-received debut graphic novel, The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott, Thorogood finds that artistic success is no cure for lifelong depression, which she draws as a looming Babadook-like monster. Battling isolation and suicidal thoughts through the Covid-19 pandemic, she focuses on concrete goals: attending a comic book convention in London, meeting an online crush in the U.S. Thorogood is an astonishingly flexible artist, and she visualizes her obsessive self-analysis by drawing herself in diverse art styles, appearing sometimes realistically, sometimes as a big-eyed cartoon, other times with the blank face of an online meme. She darts manically but still dazzles the reader with constantly shifting but always stunning artwork. At one point, Thorogood is shocked to discover how many people find her work relatable, but reminds herself, “You’re sad and mildly insufferable. Do you have any idea how big of a base that covers?” Already pushing herself to new limits, Thorogood more than delivers on the promise of her debut. This has the force of a fist punching through the page. (Nov.)