Anne Haifisch is fast becoming one of the most recognised names in the European indy comic scene and is breaking into several new markets. This month, her 2016 collection of brutally funny comics focusing on a young artist’s formative years gets a follow-up in The Artist: The Circle of Life. Plagued by doubts and anxiety, the artist is confronted with constant setbacks punctuated by occasional, surprising glimpses of recognition.
Haifisch’s strips – originally serialised on Vice – are truly unique in their ability to capture the trials and tribulations those who work in the creative industry face with a healthy dose of self-deprecation and dry wit. She is not afraid to poke fun at herself and others in the millennial generation which frequently shines through with her self-doubting protagonist. Whether it’s trying to party at a nightclub without the constant intrusive thoughts expressing all the things that could go wrong on a night-out, delusions of youth catching up with you in your older years or plain old self-doubt, the artist is someone many comic readers from this generation (especially those with a flair for the creative side of things) will see many elements of themselves in.
The experience is further enhanced through Haifisch’s unique art style (you just have to look at the Lion King homage that adorns the cover to get an idea of the tone she’s going for). A minimalist yet at the same time stylised approach that’s reserved use of colours helps to enhance the rather dry/sardonic atmosphere she’s going for. A memorable example is the artist debating with another creator on whether being a good artist and a good person are mutually exclusive features which captures the dry tone of the series in one page. The artist’s lack of colour particularly helps him stand out from the mostly pastel colour palette that features throughout and is further assisted by the bold and shaky outlines that enhance the near constant anxiety he goes through.
Readers of the previous collection and anyone working in the creative industry will love this follow up. There’s also plenty to enjoy for anyone with a good sense of humour and who’s not afraid to poke fun at themselves.
The Artist: The Circle of Life is out 25 July from Breakdown Press
9781911081074 – H/B – £16.99