cover image Memoirs of a Man in Pajamas

Memoirs of a Man in Pajamas

Pablo Roca, trans. from the Spanish by Andrea Rosenberg. Fantagraphics, $24.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-68396-757-6

Roca (Treasure of the Black Swan) shines a harsh light on the daily routines of a work-at-home artist in this funny and heartfelt, if often cringeworthy, graphic memoir. Aside from managing personal obligations (grocery shopping, coordinating at-home deliveries) and sitting at a desk waiting for inspiration to strike, Roca spends much of his days awkwardly navigating a society that has limited patience for his social ineptitude. The artist’s credo is “cowardice is another method of genetic survival,” enacted to the point that he accepts a lunch invitation from an obsessive fan rather than risk appearing impolite. Vignettes of conflict avoidance with romantic partners, professional colleagues, and neighbors, and imaginary talks with his past and future selves unfold in a series of conversations that range from absurd to profound. Each version of Roca, from those in his past (he sits down with himself from 25 years ago for a frank chat) to those in his distant future (he imagines roaming a postapocalyptic landscape), shares the artist’s neuroses and lack of focus, much to their mutual dismay. Roca’s simple, elegant linework and expressive storytelling draw readers into his anxieties as he lays them all out, from the mundane to the fantastic. This quirky slice-of-life chronicle will appeal to fans of Adrian Tomine’s The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist and any aspiring comics creator who wonders what it’s really like to live the dream—and may regret they ever asked. (Aug.)