Dog Days of Snakepit By Ben Snakepit, 285 pgs.

This week has been all about cat drama. My wife and I took Spippy and Tilly up to New Hampshire with us for Thanksgiving. Tilly shit her cat carrier (twice!) and Spip lashed out at anything that moved. When we got home, it was like the two cats had never met before, even though they’ve been living together for more than two months: Spip keeps attacking Tilly, and even us. So we have to start them from scratch. One cat gets the run of the house, and the other one has to hang out in the basement. There’s yowling, of course. Tons of it.  And why not? Both cats have had their worlds cut in half.

By the time this review hits print, hopefully all of the cat drama will be sorted out. But we’re in it now, and it feels endless, especially when there’s regular life stuff going on—birthdays, holidays, end of the semester assignments, prepping final exams, and trying to get students through accelerated classes. You know how it is.

Razorcake readers likely know Ben Snakepit: he’s been contributing a column here for years, and his bands and comics have been reviewed a bunch. In Dog Days of Snakepit, like his previous anthologies, Ben draws a three-panel strip for every day, this time for the years 2016-2018. There’s the same day-to-day stuff that Chekov (not the Star Trek guy) famously said wears us out: traffic, errands, work hassles, bullshit. After some time passes, the dust settles, but while happening it’s a drag. There are long, slow stretches where everything is good: Ben and his wife Karen go to thrift stores, cook dinners, watch TV, go out to eat. Then there are punctuation marks: friends in bands come through town and Ben gets hammered, holidays require trips, Ben plays music—and there’s dog issues, on a scale that diminishes hisses and a turd in a cat carrier to nothing.

What makes these comics so compelling—so hypnotic—is the ability for readers to plug situations from their own lives into Ben’s framework, which make his own situations relatable and sympathetic. It’s easy to see patterns emerge in Ben’s life the same way it’s easy to look back at an old journal and see threads in one’s own life. And new situations create new resonance. Since my wife and I bought a house, it’s easier to identify with the fatigue of coming home from work to sand a ceiling, say. 

Ben’s daily journal comic anthologies reliably appear every three years. I look forward to the day when the new one arrives: I try to set aside a few hours and read the whole thing, straight through, even if the cats are hissing and there’s a huge pile of papers to be graded on my desk. Once you start reading Ben’s stuff – whether you start at the beginning of his run in 2001, or jump into the present, or what passes for it—you’ll feel the same way. –Michael T. Fournier (Silver Sprocket, silversprocket.net)