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Nate Beatty’s BFF serves as a best-of collection of his Portland based perzine/comic Brain Fag, spanning 1999to 2007. Beatty’s short narrative, autobiographical comics mostly cover the realm of relationships (or lack thereof), drawing comics, travelling and negotiating day-to-day minutiae like looking after his drooling cat. Beatty’s drawing and writing style vacillates pretty widely over the issues condensed in this book–his brushwork landscapes are lush and rich, making me initially think of Craig Thompson’s work, but those landscapes often have jagged little figures running through them giving commentary both on the style or on an action in the story Beatty deems to be some kind of stupid mistake. Beatty’s comics work best for me when they’re telling a specific story, rather than meandering through his “day in the life” scenarios – the vignettes “It’s Math-time with Asshole Roommates” and “Queen Lack of Tact vs. The Overgiver,” outlining his saga with an irrational roommate from hell, are highlights. I also love his cat, Oin, always drawn frothing at the mouth, a leftover from a previous relationship, that Beatty either professes his care for or is totally annoyed by the presence of. The lack of cohesive narrative, outside of Beatty’s own concerns and neuroses, can make this zine seem really scattered at times, but as a random sampling, this collection works. (Sarah Pinder)

by Nate Beatty, 154 pgs., Microcosm Publishing, 222 S. Rogers St. Bloomington, IN, 47404, USA, $9

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