cover image Yesterday


Brother Malcolm. Birdcage Bottom, $15 trade paper (348p) ISBN 978-1-733150-98-9

Malcolm injects his debut collection of “diary comix” with candid humor and a claustrophobic worldview as the gut-busting tales of Malcolm and his crew give fresh legs to the oft-told trope of frustrated artists falling forward in hipster haven Brooklyn. A recurring dream of Malcolm opening a floating box to find a smaller version of himself prying into the same container opens the volume, foreshadowing an unfolding, idiosyncratic series of self-discovery. Each energetic vignette depicts misadventures in life and art, from choice moments at Malcolm’s gig as a line cook at a burger joint to trips to museums and films. Life hits a speed bump when his cat’s incontinence ruins his sheets as well as his apartment situation, sparking a failed exodus to Montreal. His cartoony portraits include rubbery facial features and backgrounds with just enough detail. Much like the Sunday funnies, the individual strips resonate independent of a larger narrative: other sections touch on politics, including ruminations on the death penalty, and are interposed with lighter notes like a friend’s “transcendent” one-night stand after a wedding and an “Ask Malcolm” advice strip (from love life to comics-marketing tips). Aspiring creators of all sorts will find inspiration and entertainment in these buzzy strips. (Sept.)