I have been following Sarah Andersen on social media for quite a while, loving and relating to a lot of her comics. I finally decided to check out her published collection Adulthood is a Myth.
What is it like being an adult? Is there a sure fire way to be one? Well, in the case of Sarah Andersen the answer to those two questions are “chaos” and “no” to those two questions. And in tiny comics, she illustrates her points really well and has been all the time I have followed her on Twitter and Instagram. So when I found out she had a book out with selected comics I had to read it.
It was not without my doubts, though. I was afraid that most of the content would be comics I already knew and I would, therefore, be bored with it. I love her comics, but maybe I would not get as much out of it as someone who was not familiar with her work.
Fortunately, I was proven wrong. The only thing my previous introduction to Andersen’s work did for my reading was that I read those even quicker than the other ones. The comics still made me laugh out loud and the book brought me so much joy within the hour or so it took me to read the whole thing.
While I am a big fan of elaborate graphic novels full of symbolics and visual labyrinths, one should never write off comics like these as simple or immature. It is a strength and a skill to convey your point in a small number of panels, especially in a comedic way. Andersen has this skill and with it, she finds a good balance between hilarity and hitting close to home, leaving the reader with a feeling of “I’m laughing at it because I relate to these problems and it makes the problems seem less overwhelming to me”. She knows how to address the challenges of being technically adult, but not feeling like it in the modern world and dealing with mental problems such as impostor syndrome and anxiety. It is not all doom and gloom though as she also makes room for the little things that you really start to appreciate as an adult.
Speaking of impostor syndrome, it is a bit ironic that Andersen makes comics about this as she possesses another skill which most artists pursue most of their life: The ability to make your work look effortless. As an artist myself, I know how many levels a comic has to go through from start to finish, so for Andersen to make it look like it was the easiest thing in the world for her is admirable and something to take pride in.
Adulthood is a Myth is like a warm hug for all the people who have just become adults and feel like the world is complete chaos because, sure, you feel like a big mess, but at least you are not alone. So if you need a little pick-me-up – and who doesn’t in these times, let’s be honest – Andersen has got your back with this hilarious little collection. If you do not relate to it, well, then at least you can laugh at all the rest of us who do.