Published by: Happy Clam @WeAreHappyClam
Written & drawn by: Emily B. Owen @TomboyPrincess
“Shoodles (a portmanteau of s**t doodles) was never meant to be a comic. It started as my way of trying to make sense of my thoughts and one day, while feeling unusually cavalier, I posted some on twitter. It took quite a while to get the collection together, such is the nature of anxiety and depression, but here it is. My aim when compiling the zine was to make it accessible and relatable, and hopefully by sharing my experience someone out there reading it might feel less alone.”
Firstly I’d like to personally thank Emily B. Owen for introducing me to the word “Portmanteau” I’d never heard of it before.
Just in case I’m not the only one:
1.a large travelling bag, typically made of stiff leather and opening into two equal parts.
2.a word blending the sounds and combining the meanings of two others, for example motel or brunch.“podcast is a portmanteau, a made-up word coined from a combination of the words iPod and broadcast”
I’m going to use both of these meanings every chance I get “oh that is just a BEAUTIFUL Portmanteau you are carrying”
Where was I going with this? Oh yes I’d never heard of a Portmanteau – just like I’ve never experienced mental illness first hand.
I don’t even know if I’ve ever had a migraine? Sure they are headaches and they hurt? But are they what someone experiences when they have a Migraine?
Much in the same sense, I’ve been sad, I’ve been so cripplingly nervous I find it difficult to make eye contact, but have I had depression or clinical anxiety? I really didn’t know what some one who claims to have these experiences goes through until I read Brain Shoodles.
Emily B. Owen has given me an insight to mental illness in the most beautiful and genuinely touching way possible.
Usually this style of self help comic does nothing for me. People gazing at their navels and telling me whats wrong with them leaves me cold and uninterested, give me a super hero for gods sake.
Not so here, I read this short little book with my mouth open. The art while simplistic has a real beauty to it that genuinely touched me. The examples of the symptoms and triggers for episodes of Mental Illness are relateable. It also has a self deprecating sense of humour I found utterly charming.
Rob Jones deserves special credit here. Where small press books often fall down is their failing to employ the services of a professional letterer. Jones work here is exquisite and manages to make what would have been a good effort at small press publishing into a great one.
This is a book for both people with or without the shadow of Mental Illness in their lives, with real beauty and heart that has been produced to the highest standard.
I look forward to carrying more of Emily B Owen’s Brain Shoodles around in my Portmanteau in the future.