Stripping Down #8 - My Field Trip To Planet Karen
Whenever I begin to feel jaded about comics in general, something comes along that reignites my passion for the medium. Karen Ellis has injected the well-worn 'visual diary' concept with a joie de vivre that is hopelessly addictive. Karen's tightly written and at times brutally direct daily observations are immediately engaging. The art, loose but well defined and brimming with kinetic energy, greatly enhances the peaks and troughs of the narrator’s life. Each daily account can be enjoyed as of itself, but there is a cohesion that makes the entire book a persuasive read. The confident writing and art have continually improved since the comic strip's launch in March 2006, and Ellis' self-confessed 'short cuts' to get back on schedule are master classes in storytelling. Life on Planet Karen is far from unremittingly sunny, but even the darkest confessionals are imbued with an optimism and humour that can engage the most cynical reader. This is clearly a small press creator at the top of their game. Read this, donate generously and ensure that this talent does not go unnoticed or unrewarded.
Available on the Planet Karen website
Adapted from my reviews that originally appeared in Comics International #198 and #200