You Don’t Get There From Here #5
by Carrie McNinch
I’ve heard plenty of people say that diary comics are passé. The world has seen enough of them to know they can be dull and irritating. People are sick of diary comics because when it comes down to it they don’t care about your morning routine, where you buy shampoo, how much you love your cats, or what your stupid friends say to make you laugh.
But that’s just one perspective.
If you ask me, I’d tell you truly that I still like them a whole lot and here’s why: secrets. A cartoonist may be careful and guarded, trying their best not to seem as lame, but eventually they’ve got to hand the reader some private piece of information. In the end, it’s just too difficult to try and sound awesome every day, and I read for the day when they finally crack. It’s scary, but true. Diary comics are worth picking through, if only for the day the cartoonist decides they’ve got to reveal they secretly love their best friend’s girlfriend. Or they accidentally ran over a neighbor’s dog. Or they shot heroin with celebrities. It’s when they fill volumes with revealing anecdotes that you get really lucky. You might even be looking at a future Ivan Brunetti or Jeffrey Brown.
Carrie McNich’s You Don’t Get There From Here #5 was actually pretty timid. There weren’t many breakthroughs this round. Pretty much, it just included routine stories that didn’t reveal too much dirt about the author, but there were other high points. Though it’s true that by the end what I remembered best from the comic was her cat’s constipation, it was totally the result of cat constipation being mentioned on the first page, then seeing the author wear a cat shirt every day until her comic ends. I wouldn’t call that a high point though, so let me continue.
McNich’s book was just a perfect example of a diary comic, and being perfect, it was also a joy to read. So perfect, in fact, I’m surprised and embarrassed I only just discovered it. Where was this book years ago when all I read were diary comics? Anyone who credits John P. or JP Coovert or James Kochalka with inspiring them to keep a diary strip would probably be shocked to discover how much they’d also like the series You Don’t Get There From Here. The pages are just packed with simple line drawings, spaces occasionally filled with black, and words. This comic is dense. For two dollars, it would make a perfect companion for your public transit ride home or between bites during lunch.
There were plenty of interesting tidbits to enjoy from her book as well. Maybe you think the mundane is drab, but for us that enjoy it, add this comic to your list of required reading. That is, get it if you want to read about someone who has a pool, goes running every day, gets acupuncture, drinks whole six packs alone, loves TiVo, deals with the whole anxiety/depression business, drives around for fun and has to deal with their best friends getting cancer. If you make it to the end, you just might be rewarded with a trip to Yellowstone National Park.
You Don’t Get There From Here #5 is 32 pages long, black and white, neatly printed, filled with nice clean drawings and good writing, and it’s just one month away from being relevant again. YDGTFH #5 was written between June and August in 2007. You can get it for $2 by contacting the author or ordering through Microcosm Publishing.
– Sarah Morean