Everything Is Going Wrong: Comics on Punk and Mental Illness, Edited by Mark Bouchard, 148 pgs.

Dec 13, 2019

This collection of comics edited by Mark Bouchard was started as a Kickstarter project back in 2018, finally reached its goal, and was published in 2019. (Full disclosure: I donated to help fund it.) There are forty-three different entries here: the vast majority are comics but there are a few statements by contributors on mental health. The comics are all done in different styles. Some are just one page and others cover more than five pages. I’m not familiar with any of the artists, but the writers included the HIRS Collective, Scott Sturgeon of Leftöver Crack, and Matthew Landis of The World Inferno Friendship Society.

As the person who put together Razorcake’s punks and mental health issue, it shouldn’t be surprising that I found this comic to be near and dear to my heart. Writers were given the freedom to tell their story in whatever way they saw fit. Some literally told of their experiences with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and suicide. Others did it more in a metaphorical manner, comparing their mental illness to a monster or physical condition. These views on mental health issues also allowed each artist to flourish in their unique style; there aren’t any two comics that appear alike.

It’s not surprising that some of the pieces (especially the short ones) don’t strike me as powerfully as the ones that tell a story or really explore a condition over multiple pages. The pieces “Rhythm” and “Unmanned” had a combination of art reminiscent of comic books I read as a kid (mainly Batman and Spiderman) and storylines that dealt with the weight of nagging depression and self-doubt which I could relate to. Those two stuck out to me the most.

There were a few things I would’ve liked to see changed. The biggest one is that there were page numbers in the table of contents but no page numbers once you got into the book. The comics weren’t consistent in stating their titles, writers, artists, and letterers. It would’ve been helpful to have a clean understanding of when one comic was finished and where the next began.

That said, the comics address a worthwhile subject and something that will be helpful to punks, comic fans, and anyone dealing with mental illness. It’s not that there are solutions given out in Everything Is Going Wrong, but it’s more a reminder that there are fellow punks out there who are also facing similar struggles. –Kurt Morris (eigwpreorders.storenvy.com)