Indie Comic Review: My Brain Hurts (vol. 2)

My Brain Hurts (Vol. 2)

Creator: Liz Baillie

Microcosm Publishing
Price: $6 (I think)
The nice folks at Microcosm sent us a stack of books to peruse.  The first one I looked at was Snakepit, which wasn’t really to my taste.  So, I was a bit nervous when I picked up My Brain Hurts.  Auto-bio comics can be really hit or miss, and I wasn’t sure I was ready to go through another Snakepit (can you tell I didn’t like that one?).
My Brain Hurts tells the story of Kate, a gay girl who has dropped out of school and is trying to navigate the “real” world of internships and credit recovery while navigating the all-too-real pitfalls of relationships.  She serves as the focal point of the story and adds a bit of the necessary “dumb choices” that all of us have made some time in our lives.
Joey is Kate’s friend.  The reader first meets him as he wakes up from a coma (apparently from a beating that occurred in the previous volume).  To make matters worse, it appears that the beating was at the hands of his father when Joey was revealed to be gay.  Joey’s family is beyond dysfunctional, but not in an unbelievable way.  I have taught several children over the years who com from families that would give this one a run for its money.
Lastly, we also check in with Marcus who still attends the school where Kate and Joey once attended.  He is struggling with being gay and trying to be in the closet about it.  “Hijinks” ensue as he is found out by more than one person!
All of these characters revolve around each other and drift in and out of each other’s lives in the way that would seem very familiar to most teenagers.  While the characters do not always make the most responsible decisions, their decisions are definitely true to their characters.  Looking back on my life, I can see some of those bad decisions in my own rear-view mirror.
I’m glad I took a chance with My Brain Hurts.  Despite this is volume two of the story, I found I was able to slip in easily and readily find my way.  Even though I was unclear from time to time of the particulars of some relationships, the storytelling was clear enough to pull me through and catch me up to speed.
While the art was not polished, it was serviceable.  There is an epilogue of sorts in the back of the book, and it is there that Baillie shows that she has some real artistic chops.  If she were to apply that kind of time and effort to the rest of the comic, this would be a real gem!  As it stands, this comic is a testament to the experience of being young and gay in a world that is not quite ready for you.
In addition, despite the fact that the story has ended, and this one volume is a satisfying reading experience, I have gone ahead and ordered the first volume so I can have the complete story.  This is a very good comic that tells a story that is, unfortunately,  probably all too common and will likely look very familiar to some readers.
Check it out.
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