Comic, Marita, Burn All Books, 8 pgs, babstore.square.site, $1-$9 (sliding scale)
At a brief eight pages, Grocery Story is over just as it begins. Our heroine returns home from the so-called grief camp and finds they’re out of eggs, and sets out to the grocery store. Maybe they’ll find love there once more, they hope.
Printed in blue, yellow, and pink Risograph ink, Grocery Story is drawn in an undeniably cutesy style. Flowerheaded figures discuss names for their baby, an octopus drives a bus, and rabbits discuss intimacy. There’s an air of Sanrio cuteness to Marita’s characters, or perhaps those Lisa Frank stickers you might find on a grade school binder. But this is ultimately a homegrown and mature short. The apparent youthful bliss of Marita’s style is at first shattered by the aforementioned grief camp, and again when a flower walks down the street and drops an F-bomb. The dialogue is quick and snappy, the lead character listening as we do, standing at a bus stop and taking in the rabble of the street. Cacophony.
The landscape format of the zine allows lots of space to each panel, letting Marita’s character’s really strut their stuff. There’s a face in nearly every panel. In spreads with fewer character figures, you’ll find something peering at you from the side of a bus.
The disjointed proportions and oblong shapes of these characters are a nice stylistic signature, despite being awkward or jarring here and there. On Page 4, I particularly liked the decision to meld two of the panels into one larger landscape view, which stretches across the page and gives a full view of the street. Things are briskly paced, with more going on in these eight pages than what happens in much longer works.
Grocery Story has characters I’d like to see and hear more. As the zine ends, the cursing flower asks that we stay tuned. I’ll be sure to.