cover image Everything Is Fine

Everything Is Fine

Mike Birchall. Webtoon Unscrolled, $27.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-990259-91-3

Birchall’s hair-raising debut collects the first volume of his Harvey Award finalist digital comics series about a suburban dystopia where one housewife awakens to and rebels against an oppressive surveillance state. Maggie lives in a seemingly idyllic community with her husband, Sam, and their dog, Winston. Winston, however, has been dead for some time, an unacknowledged truth and symbol of the decay and denial pervading the neighborhood. It’s clear Maggie (and everyone she encounters) is also repressing a more devastating loss. As mandated by the government, any negative thoughts are quickly banished behind Fargo-esque facades of down-home pleasantries. With clean lines and soft colors, Birchall draws the denizens of this mild-mannered hellscape donning super-cute cat costumes; the effect is both winsome and menacing, as when Maggie’s mask is splashed with stray spaghetti sauce from the stove. The sense of danger and dread is unsubtle but aptly conjured. À la Marvel’s Wandavision, this is a clever and gripping portrayal of a woman shredding the pretense to say, “Enough.” (May)