Created by Phil Gerigscott
The Story: This is not the norm. Let’s start there shall we? Listen up at the back? This is not a comic full of crashes and bangs, bows and arrows or even rock bands.
This is about a guy called Phil. He has a fairly standard life, a partner who loves him and he intends to marry. He goes on holiday, suffers from insomnia and goes about all the different things that we all experience.
Unlike most of the population, Phil has pretty drastic pain in his legs and knees. It impacts on his life, his relationships, his day to day moments and feelings and even on his sex life.
“There is a weirdness in the air…”
The Review: This collection of drawings that is intermingled with short autobiographical comic moments in Phil’s life is both confessional and educational. It allows for the creator to release his fears and worries into the world and explain to those who know him and those that do not why he acts as he does.
He does not have it easy. The reality of pain in Phil’s life is a constant.
Through this confessional element of the story, we reach a moment where education has crept up through the pages and into the minds of the reader. We realise the truth of a pain that can at moments be crippling.
Often, we shake off the truth of both pain in society and the reality of its disabling nature. In reading this account of someone’s daily life, this is achieved, over time, through a familiarisation with the characters and the normality of the settings around them.
You begin to feel the agony that Phil suffers and also the difficulty that his partner suffers in dealing with this on a day to day, holiday to holiday and lovemaking to lovemaking basis.
“The only thing that keeps me going is that one day I will feel better.”
I’ll be the first to admit that the book isn’t perfect. Some of the pages (in a 154 page collection) seem like needless filler and I could really have done with more actual sequential content. The art has a black and white comix charm to its scratchy lines at times lacks a sense of seem movement and flow through a lack of detail. But that said, it’s hugely successful in reminding the reader that people do suffer and not to ignore this fact even though you see them every day.
By the last page, I had really begun to admire Phil. He used comics as a medium to explain himself perfectly. It is a great way to emotionally explain this subject.
It is at times, I’ll admit, a little too sad for this grumpy old reader but I never got the sense that the creator was being less than heartfelt (yes, even when he sang that cheezy song).
It is well worth a look.
• Phil is currently seeking funding to print this already written and drawn book here www.kickstarter.com/projects/wlhylcfl/when-life-hands-you-lemons-check-for-lymes-graphic
• Phil Gerigscott currently lives in Goshen, Indiana with his wife, Emma, and dog, Pi. He teaches elementary art and enjoys writing music (when not affected by Lyme) and making comics in his free time. Check out his tumblr: http://philgerigscott.tumblr.com
Many thanks for reading.