Autobio indie comics automatically have an uphill battle to fight with me, as I’m sure they do with most readers. It’s an overpopulated junkpile of a genre most often, and though a few rare comics slip through every year with something new to offer or a new way to say something, I’ve read more bad minicomics and graphic novels about “this happened to me” minutiae than any other other subject — which is why it was unusual that I picked this up off the shelf at Chicago Comics a couple of weeks ago.
My Every Single Thought is a scattershot minicomic by Corinne Mucha that comes with the simple premise of presenting a comic diary of themed meditations on being single, what the meaning of being single is, what the opposite of being single is, and how it defines someone’s identity. Given that there’s both a clearly defined passage of time and an introductory note on the back that says “this comic chronicles the author’s attempt to get over an old relationship, and come to terms with a saucy new label — SINGLE,” it ultimately puts too much pressure on itself to be a story of progress, cause, and effect, as there’s not a coherent build or notion of progress at work from beginning to end.
There is an ultimate moment of resolution in the epiphany that tries to pull the comic’s conflict together, but the individual pages, which rage from micro-narratives to humorous lists and diagrams, work much better separately than they do as a whole. In a way it reminds me of the first time I watched Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes, a film made up short variations on a theme that lays a lot of eggs but does manage hard boil a few into revisitable winners. Without dwelling on the egg metaphor any longer than necessary, several moments in My Every Single Thought did provoke guffaws, such as her moment wishing that her coffee shop manager would open up a manual on how to deal with having a crush on a customer or the chart of standard responses to “Why are you single?”
The art style is somewhere between King-Cat and Linda Barry, which is appropriate for the subject matter. The narrator’s antenna-like cowlicky ponytail works for defining her visually with a sense of awkwardness and perky alertness, and the sequences move smoothly.
There’s an underlying emo quality to the comic that’s inherent to a lot of autobio comics, for better or worse. It’s not pervasive throughout these pages, but nine times out of ten it’s Dashboard Confessionalling the unresolved tension into the ground. If you tend to steer clear of those sorts of comics, you’ll probably pass this one up too, but the few bucks it’ll cost you will be good for a few laughs and a read worth having over a beer if you’re recently or chronically single.