So I couldn’t believe it, but I checked: this is Disa’s first book. She did put out a mini kus book a few years back, which was amazing, but most people who put out books that are this thoroughly impressive have been doing it for awhile. In fact, I’m probably going to get carried away and hit you with an avalanche of superlatives, so let me be clear and concise at the outset: this is the best graphic novel I’ve read this year (2021), maybe in several years. It’s the type of book that I’d like to leave on my coffee table (when humans can interact with each other in person again) just so I can judge people on their reaction to it. This is the story, in the sense that it’s a story at all, of a young girl who’s wandering around and suddenly finds herself on a quest. But it’s not a quest, as there’s no goal; it’s a journey of discovery and curiosity. Disa tells this story through mixed media, having her characters interact with various other pieces of art and crystals. It also has a fight in the middle of it that leaves both participants satisfied, and a giant eats the characters but feels nothing after doing so. Oh sorry, I was going to try to avoid talking too much about the book. It’s essentially an ongoing conversation about art, and exploration, and horses, and what stops us from becoming horses. But there’s no pretension involved, and no sense that any answers gained are necessarily THE answers. But they might work for you! Or you, in the back. Every stop along the way is fascinating, and hilarious, and sometimes contemplative enough to stop me in my tracks. If you’re a creative type at all (and let’s be honest, if you’re reading this you probably make mini comics too) then this book is required reading. I’ll make this guarantee (backed by nothing): anybody who reads this book is going to be changed. Maybe not hugely, but it’ll be there. You also might become a horse, or at least try to. If you’re lucky enough to have an amazing library system near you, get it from there if you don’t believe me. That’s what I did, but now I’m going to buy my own copy because everybody should have one. Check it out already, or I’ll keep saying nice things about it! $22.95
Have you ever stopped to think about how much of your life you’ve forgotten? How does your brain know which memories to retain and which ones to let slip away? Does you brain really work that way or are your memories just random snippets of your life and not actually the most important or relevant moments? If that’s the case, how do you even know who you are? Welcome to Remember This, a comic that will mess with your head in significant ways. Or, as part of the back of the comic says in its synopsis, “Disa Wallender’s story will confuse you, perhaps it’s best not to think about it?” I don’t subscribe to that, as thinking about this kind of stuff it’s what makes life worth living to me, but if that’s not the case for you then perhaps the back of this comic has a point. Subjects introduced in this comic are how smells can conjure memories (or something only the fact that you know a memory is associated with this smell but can’t place it, leaving you in a worse spot than before you detected said smell), and how this is basically Disa’s note to her future self and that she wonders who that person will be. It’s another genuinely great and intriguing addition to the mini kus pile, which still has a remarkable success rate as far as I’m concerned.