PEP TALKS FOR BROKEN PEOPLE, $10, 8½” x 5 ½”, perfect bound, 80 pgs.

Eighty pages of beautiful, earnest, quirky drawings and poems in this behemoth of a zine. The images and words are interspersed, making this—as it says on the cover—comix poetry, a largely (I think) underexplored medium. The beauty of comics as a medium is to have the power of both the word and the image at your disposal, and both are used well here. This collection celebrates the small things: a pitcher of iced tea in the summertime, a glimpse of nature in the city, but it just as well celebrates the huge things: a black hole the size of a parallel universe. There are images in Pep Talks for Broken People I’d like to pull out and tape to my wall. With just enough whimsy not to be sad, and just enough sadness not to be superficial, the worlds Meissner builds are intricate and fun and ultimately compelling. I think my favorite in the collection is “Affirmations By 14 Yr Olds,” because who the hell else should be writing affirmations? Pick this up for a pick-me-up that doesn’t tell you everything’s gonna be okay. –jimmy cooper (