Perzine/mini-comic, Marc Parker, issue #2, 5307 N. Minnesota Ave., Portland, OR 97217, USA, email@example.com, $3 (US)
Eating morning meal fare in the evening isn’t unheard of. There are midnight omelets at any 24-hour diner. Sausage and eggs, biscuits and gravy, whatever you want. But Marc Parker seems to be thinking a little more unconventionally. He’s thinking cereal. For dinner. “I want to connote something comforting, but unhealthy,” he says.
Meal juxtaposition isn’t all he’s playing with. In Breakfast for Dinner, Marc mixes roles of autobiographical comic artist with typewritten diarist, switching back and forth to relay six months or so of his recent past. His comic technique is spare and uncoloured, thin red ink with blue lettering. Pictorial vignettes of conversations with friends tend to be more lighthearted than the stories that come out of Marc’s typewriter.
Marc’s narratives take up the bulk of the zine, the first one reading in matter-of-fact journal style, featuring daily appointments and therapy sessions. His later pieces delve into deeper territory, dealing honestly with some depressive episodes and some of the compromises Marc has had to make with decisions between antidepressant medicines, effectively having to choose between nightmares at night or dysthymia during the day. He writes vulnerably, but not melodramatically, with insight into the subtle ways depressive malaise can creep into a day, or a sleepless night: “I fought exhaustion through the afternoon and evening. But at ten or eleven, when I tried to turn in, I couldn’t relax enough to dip into sleep. After laying there a couple hours … I gave up and flipped open my computer, for another Netflix/Facebook/pornography marathon.”
With hindsight and some perspective on the interplay between his pharmaceutical choices, his behavior and the role of some key relationships, Marc looks for context for his experiences, maybe as a therapeutic exercise, just for himself. As such, not everyone will connect with this, but those that do will likely be rooting for him and waiting to see how he’s faring next issue, both in words and pictures, maybe still munching cereal under the stars. (Joshua Barton)