Estrus Comics Issue 5: Kiss & Tell by MariNaomi

Categories:  Reviews

kisstellMariNaomi’s fifth issue of Estrus Comics, themed Kiss & Tell, started to make me feel like a creepy voyeur at about page 46. It took me that long to politely realize ‘These are somebody’s very personal stories. Maybe they’d prefer I not read them?’ Too bad I was hooked by page 1. Politeness be damned.

At 48 pages total, I was nearly finished anyhow. I kept on reading and was kindly met with a less-graphic story about a love that never was. Otherwise, Kiss & Tell is a revealing autobio comic that wastes no time in getting to the good parts and the naughty bits.

MariNaomi narrates her stories in a poetic, funny, painless way that almost brings the happy attitude of Liz Prince to the doleful ex-relationship stories of Jeffrey Brown. However, though MariNaomi’s boyfriend comics range from timid to disturbing, they only spend a few short pages remembering each guy. If this gives you any idea how much play she seems to get, well, it seems to be a lot.

Whatever she’s gone through, MariNaomi is clearly in favor of moving on. These anecdotes seem to be all she’s hanging onto from past relationships. It’s absolutely refreshing to read a relationship autobio comic where the author isn’t crushed or angry or sappy. So thank you, MariNaomi. Thank you.

Faithful readers of the Cross Hatch will recall a Guest Strip supplied by MariNaomi many months ago. Refresh your memory HERE. To my surprise, this strip was also part of Kiss & Tell. I thought Guest Strips were elite property of the Hatch, but given the fact that no one around here is receiving or dispensing any money, we can hardly expect a strip so perfectly suited for Estrus Comics‘ fifth issue to be omitted on our account. If anything, check it out again because it’s a perfect example of what you’ll find in MariNaomi’s recently released minicomic.

The book is striking with brown and hot pink ink screenprinted onto a baby blue cardstock cover. I don’t know what kind of ink she’s using, but it’s divine. Probably in the image posted above you can’t detect the subtlety of the brown. It’s evenly cracked-looking all over in a way that resembles leather. The pink raises above the cardstock so much it feels like a thick sticker.

The cover image is beautiful and telling of what stories are inside (because once you start reading, you’ll catch people in the act more than once). It’s not representative of her comic art style, however, which incorporates so much black sometimes panels look like woodcuts.

The comics are all black and white with a major exception on page 36. MariNaomi has gone in with nailpolish and colored in the wild punk rock hairstyle of her boyfriend circa 1989. It’s a really cool detail and added a very nice, unexpected surprise.

Kiss & Tell is simply eye-catching and engrossing. I just got it today and had to quickly write about it, I was so excited. MariNaomi’s charging $5 for an issue on her WEBSITE, and considering all the extra love and details, it’s an incredible deal.

-Sarah Morean

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