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Simple Routines #11
posted August 26, 2009


Creator: JP Coovert
Publishing Information: self-published, mini-comic, 24 pages, May 2009, no price attached
Ordering Numbers:

I read and reviewed an earlier issue of this diary comic series about three years ago. My memory of that comic is that it was superior to this one, but that may be because I'm more apt to indulge a student as opposed to a young, working professional. These aren't comics intended to be marketed, I don't think, but rather seem more like something the cartoonist might do to stay sharp, explore certain themes, mark certain events and have something to trade with friends.

As an outsider, I found it more frustrating than enlightening. Our hero is married now, and out of school, and while there are a couple of comics that touch on idiosyncratically compelling parts of both of those experiences, nothing is fully explored. There's a strip where he stares at his wife's face and doesn't fully recognize it but immediately declares he can fall in love with this stranger all over again. Suddenly the intrigue I feel about this hint of confusion and self-doubt becomes a race in my mouth to say "aww" or "ugh." While both of those reactions are just fine, and may be absolutely true to the experience, it seems like Coovert shuts down a lot of compelling avenues of personal exploration without giving them a fair shake. I feel like I'm being rushed along to a moment of niceness. That may also be a function of getting a bunch of these at once whereas the through-line in terms of tone could be a strength getting these one by one. Either way, by mini's end I'm not sure I trust the cartoonist on much past his affection for his friends and for his wife's butt. Then again, young marrieds in brand new first jobs in this economy that can afford to buy a house, do so without any reported hassle, and who frequently travel for both family and comics-related events as easily as this pair seems to, maybe they really don't have anything to complain about. The cartooning remains crisp and clear, although the pages as a whole feel static. I'd trade for one.