Recently, at San Francisco Zine Fest 2017, I was lucky enough to stumble upon Lindsay Anne Watson’s spectacular little comic, HUNK, published by Tiny Splendor. HUNK follows the journey of a human-like figure remaining incredibly positive in the midst of seemingly endless setbacks and stumbles. This small book operates as a paean to joy full of innocent aphorisms that function as a bulwark to buoy and buttress all of us in the midst of uncertainty and fear.
In a 2016 interview with Natalye for Silver Sprocket, Watson perfectly encapsulated the tone of and purpose behind HUNK when she said:
It’s me laughing at myself, my depression, and my shortcomings, while also celebrating how these things don’t always necessarily prevent one from being beautiful and smart and just generally OK. I just feel like it has a perfect balance of honest tender feelings while not being cutesy, and the current that moved that book along is one of cynical optimism.
HUNK is risographed on various types of backgrounds, from solid pinks and yellows and greens to what appears to be graph paper, and in its pages Watson’s hulking figure stands out through its deep purple color and its weight solidified, thickly pushing through its environment with a light step that counterbalances expectation. The heaviness indicated by its bulk stands in contrast to the buoyancy of its outlook, and this juxtaposition adds to the sense of exultation that seeps from the pages.
The reader is left at the end of HUNK awash in both the naiveté of Watson’s messaging and an anticipatory sense of possibility. Watson is acknowledging that life often conspires to undermine all of our endeavors, while at the same time extolling the opportunity we have to choose happiness in the end. As it seems that the world is continuing to gather momentum towards chaos and destruction, a book such as this can help ward off despair.
On the cover of HUNK, Watson has her character sitting cross-legged with its elbows on its knees and its hands on its bird-like face, looking up at the clouds asking, “How can everything be so radiant?” The same question can be asked of the entirety of HUNK.
In the midst of whatever woes that darken us towards despondency, we can all use a little spark of light from time to time. One way to find that spark would be to pick up a copy of Lindsay Anne Watson’s HUNK from Tiny Splendor.