Self-described as “a series of mindless character drawings and recurring personal motifs in an attempt to heal from depression and substance abuse,” Noodle Soup’s vibrant colours and quiet, introspective writing, pair well as a means for combatting the zine’s more serious original creative motivation.
Thinly lined images brought out by warm Riso printing accompany Martens’ writing and ruminations. What would it be like to be a geoduck? Who ties the ropes that hang plants? Why does the pink mesh-covered pear at the grocery store remind the writer of people they love?
There’s a lightness to the work, and these seemingly unrelated stray thoughts and their accompanying drawings point towards a more unifying idea for the zine as a whole: that, like the titular food, Noodle Soup is something that can be left to simmer — these disparate elements, ultimately, build towards an end product that is all the stronger because of what went into it.
Martens’ artwork throughout Noodle Soup is varied and distinct. On one page, a front three-quarter view of a room is littered with items and looks fully lived in. On others, the inner workings of a plant and a dead bird show a striking attention to detail. The work’s final four pages, which contain free handed illustrations, are particularly vibrant and a joy to look at and process. To keep the metaphor going, they are, perhaps, that final satisfying swig of the broth.
Each element of Noodle Soup, from Martens’ text, to the artwork, to the excellent printing, works together to make it something particularly special. Like its namesake, it’s something I’d love to have some more of.