Big Mushy Happy Lump
Writer and Artist: Sarah Andersen
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
A review by Stephanie Cooke
I’m a big fan of everything that Sarah Andersen does. She’s a brilliant illustrator who is capable of incredibly beautiful work but is probably best known for her insanely relatable cartoons which you can find all over the internet. Seriously. If you have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or ANY form of social media, I can guarantee that you’ve seen at least ONE of Sarah Andersen’s strips.
I’ve been following her work for quite some time now and early last year, Andersen released her first collection of her comics in Adulthood is a Myth aka the truest title for a book ever. I don’t think I have EVER laughed so hard as I did throughout my reading of that book, relating to nearly every single thing she put down on paper. Even the stuff that isn’t directly relatable is still at the very least hilarious.
I was beyond thrilled to learn that a new collection of Sarah’s comics were being published in a volume called Big Mushy Happy Lump. I devoured it in a night before bedtime during my Christmas holidays, laughing to myself while my cat stared at me, puzzled and probably annoyed at me waking her.
Cats are just one of the many topics that are covered in this book, which gives me endless joy. Unlike the previous volume though, several of these strips are a sort of series. They don’t NEED to be enjoyed back to back but they’re better in succession and paired with Andersen’s commentary on what was going on in her mind at the time when the story was being told. It’s typically a paragraph or so that outlines her behind-the-scenes story and gives us insight into some of the struggles that the artist goes through in her personal life. Many of her comics address her anxiety and social awkwardness and the commentary allows Andersen the opportunity to shed some light on what’s really going on, which is very valuable, in my opinion.
Many of Andersen’s comics are relatable but they’re, again, very funny. Sometimes it’s hard to see the genuine things going on within the comics when they’re seeped in humour, like mental illness. There are comics that talk about not being able to get out of bed or bailing on friends or having anxiety attacks at parties etc. These are all varying forms of things that many introverts and people suffering from depression go through and it’s important to note that we can laugh at our struggles but they’re still struggles. Andersen’s comics are a fun way to put comics out in the world to shout “YOU’RE NOT ALONE!” and it’s wonderful.
To say that I adore Sarah Andersen and the work she does is a complete understatement. I think through humour, she helps to raise awareness of issues we sometimes don’t even know we have and also, she just tells fantastically funny stories that sometimes have no other meaning than to make us laugh or smile.
Buy it! Sarah Andersen is a master storyteller and I truly hope she keeps working at her craft for many years to come. I will continue to support her projects for as long as she keeps doing them. Not only is Big Mushy Happy Lump a great gift for anyone, whether they are already into comics or not. These strips are akin to Sunday comics that anyone could enjoy in the newspaper, so worry not about gifting this to someone who may not be fully immersed in the comic book world.
Big Mushy Happy Lump will be out on March 7, 2017.